April 09, 2013

Mini expands international production network

The BMW Group is adding new assembly facilities for selected Mini models to its global production network in response to increasing worldwide demand for premium cars from Mini. For the first time since the relaunch of the brand in 2001 preparations are
under way for the assembly of Mini cars for several growth markets outside Europe. The British small car manufacturer has a record of assembling vehicle kits in countries beyond its regular production bases. Indeed, the classic Mini was put together in a dozen countries in Europe, as well as further afield, for direct delivery to local customers.

This increase in international production capacity is in line with the 'production follows the market' principle applied across the BMW Group. Above all, it will serve to provide a rapid and flexible supply line to the increasing number of customers in emerging markets. Mini delivered a record 301,526 vehicles to customers worldwide in 2012, markets on the American and Asian continents making a particularly strong contribution to this 5.8 per cent increase in sales over the previous year. The Mini brand will continue to broaden its global perspective over the coming years, and the strengthening of its international production network is intended to assist in that process.

Five of the seven models in the current Mini line-up are produced in the brand's native Britain. The Mini plant in Oxford represents the central pillar in the BMW Group's British production network, which also includes the Hams Hall engine factory in Birmingham and the press shop in Swindon. The Mini Countryman and Mini Paceman, meanwhile, roll off the assembly line at Mini's production and development partner Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria and are supplied with engines from Hams Hall.

The BMW Group is investing heavily in the expansion and modernisation of the three locations that make up the Mini production triangle in Britain. Among the factors behind the move is the planned next stage in the expansion of the Mini model family, which will further bolster the brand's global success. Added to which, the components required for assembly abroad will be manufactured at the central production locations in Britain and Austria. These parts will then be arranged into vehicle kits and shipped to the relevant plants for final assembly. It is a strategy which also helped the classic Mini on its triumphant march around the world. The one-off small car - 5.3-million units of which were sold between 1959 and 2000 - was also exported in kit form to various regions around the world. Which explains how the classic Mini was not only 'made in Britain', but also in Spain, Belgium, Italy, Malta, Portugal, former Yugoslavia, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.


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