TODAY has witnessed the launch of the latest MINI car.
The revamped design was unveiled at the UK production plant in Oxford.
Among the features of the new MINI is an all-new vehicle architecture and a range of new fuel-efficient engines to give owners even more fun behind the wheel.
While not a radical revamp, a £750 million investment across three of BMW Group’s UK manufacturing facilities marked the launch of the new car with a new 1,000-robot body shop at Plant Oxford, the debut of new technologies at the steel body pressings operation in Swindon, and new machining and assembly facilities to produce a new generation of three and four-cylinder engines at the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I was lucky enough to get an early preview of the new MINI – a classic British icon – during a visit to the factory in Oxford last month. This £750 million investment is great news for both the local and wider economy, along with the 5,500 workers whose jobs are safeguarded by this launch.
“Car manufacturing is a vital engine for growth. Production is back up to pre-recession levels and a car rolls off the line every 20 seconds in the UK. But we’re not complacent. Our industrial strategy is a key part of the Government’s economic plan and we’re helping to drive the car industry further and faster with over £4bn of investment.”
Harald Krueger, BMW Group’s board member for production, said: “In our Oxford plant’s centenary year, we are continuing the MINI brand success story and today starting production of the third model generation.
“Our total investment of £750 million in our British production locations of Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall between 2012 and 2015 underscores the importance of the MINI production triangle within our global production network. The UK is the heart of MINI production – thanks to the experience, competence and strong commitment of all our employees.”
The investment means additional job security for the 5,500 associates currently working in the UK MINI production network. Besides a new state-of-the-art body shop, the Oxford plant also benefits from upgrades to its paint shop, its final assembly area and from a series of initiatives reducing the operation’s carbon footprint and improving its waste management processes.
“The introduction of the new MINI has also seen a significant investment in the most extensive workforce training programme undertaken at the plant.
Even though there’s instant recognition – something which comes from having such a globally identifiable design – the new MINI is completely new from the ground up in an effort to optimise its styling, function and performance.
“With its market launch in Spring 2014, the new car offers an enhanced standard specification, an extensive range of options to allow customers to adapt the car to their individual style, higher comfort levels, comprehensive safety technology including pedestrian protection and more innovative networking technology.
“Longer and wider than its predecessor, the new model provides more interior space for both the driver and passengers. Extensively revised suspension technology, reduced weight and increased rigidity have intensified the typical MINI go-kart feeling.
Commenting on the new model, Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW Group’s board member for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, Aftersales BMW Group said: “MINI is an inspiration for trend-setters and creative spirits the world over. And with our latest generation of MINI Hatch, we want to excite once again. To ensure the new generation of MINI Hatch is as successful as its predecessors, we have made just subtle modifications to its design. But beneath the outer skin is a brand-new car with state-of-the-art technologies seen for the first time at a small car.