BMW will invest £600 million to build electric Minis in the UK | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October

BMW will invest £600 million to build electric Minis in the UK

Good news for UK PLC as BMW sets about refurbishing Oxford and Swindon plants

Published: 11 Sep 2023

Time to ring the good news klaxon: BMW is investing significant wedges of cash in electric MINI production in the UK. The German carmaker is set to refurbish its Oxford and Swindon locations to the tune of £600 million so it can build the three-door Mini Cooper and compact crossover Mini Aceman in Blighty.

In what seems like a bit of a U-turn (in fact, most definitely a U-turn), BMW will relocate production of these two new all-electric Mini models in 2026. Instead of being built in China, they’ll be built here.

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BMW also has plans to go completely electric (a la Stellantis) at Oxford from 2030.

The announcement will protect some 3,400 Oxford jobs and a further 600 in Swindon. Currently there are 1,000 Minis built every day. Once the refurbishments are done, BMW expects to max out capacity, producing 200,000 vehicles per year (up from the c.188,000 produced last year.) It's also worth noting BMW exports some 80 per cent of its vehicles, too. 

Stefanie Wurst, head of the Mini brand, said: “Mini has always been aware of its history – Oxford is and remains the heart of the brand. The continuing high demand for our locally emission-free vehicles shows the openness of the global Mini community to electromobility, which we will be able to serve optimally in the future, also thanks to Oxford”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT boss, said: “BMW’s landmark announcement is yet another vote of confidence in UK automotive manufacturing. Not only does it secure the long-term future of the home of one of the world’s most iconic brands, it also demonstrates once again our capabilities in electric vehicle production.

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"British automotive manufacturing has clear advantages – a skilled, highly productive workforce, cutting edge plants, a diverse vibrant supply chain and world-class R&D – all of which we must continue to promote in the face of fierce global competition. Investments such as this improve productivity and help deliver jobs, growth and economic benefits for the country.”

In recent months, there have been a number of announcements about investment into British-based electric vehicle production and development. The biggest shout was about JLR’s parent company Tata brokering a deal with the government to open a battery factory in Bridgwater, worth a whopping £4 billion.

And there was the gallant rescue of the failed “Britishvolt” Blyth-based gigafactory by Australian start-up, Recharge industries.

Almost a year ago, Ford announced plans to invest £125 million into EV component production at its Halewood plant in Merseyside. Similarly, since 2021, Nissan has been working on a £1bn project to create a further 6,000 jobs at its plant in Sunderland.

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The context? Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) account for over 16 per cent of all new cars sold in the UK to date, according to SMMT data.

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