31 August 2010
MINI Oxford Expansion
MINI recently started making the new Countryman in Austria, yet the Oxford plant will continue to be the home of MINI. Confirming that commitment, the existing plant there is to be expanded for a new model due in 2013. The majority of the work is to extend the bodyshop, but also a number of smaller supporting units, including a new sprinkler system pump house. The expansion is to solve a problem. The way the new Mini model will be produced means that the plant is not able to build it within the existing bodyshop. To ensure continuous production between the run-out of the existing Mini model and start-up of the next, the plant needs additional space.
I also think it makes better use of the area, judging by the areial pictures below.
Of course, there was never a chance of Oxford losing out on being the main MINI factory. It's just that there is no room for any more expansion.
The fact is, MINI is under increasing competition from others joining in on its success. So future growth will be hard to achieve anyway. So the Oxford site is about right, if you farm one model out.
The bottom line: MINI is an amazing success story, and so important to Oxford's economy.