The Oxford Job…New Electric Mini to Be Built in Oxford

The Oxford Job…New Electric Mini to Be Built in Oxford

JULY 2017

A fully electric version of the Mini will be built at the Cowley plant in Oxford, BMW has said.

BMW announced the Mini E would go in to production in 2019 with an electric drivetrain being built in Bavaria, before being put together at the main "production location" for the three-door model in Oxford's Cowley factory.

The Cowley plant and Mini production:

  • Cowley accounts for roughly two-thirds of global mini production;
  • The UK is still the biggest market for Minis - accounting for 20% of worldwide sales;
  • 4,500 people currently work at the Cowley plant;
  • Production of the electric car may result in the creation of a few specialised jobs, but no significant impact;
  • It is based on the existing three-door mini hatchback and will use the same production line - so investment is relatively small.

Brexit a potential spanner in the works
About 360,000 Minis are made each year, with more than 60% of them built at Oxford. But BMW has built up an alternative manufacturing base in the Netherlands amid concerns about Britain's suitability as an export hub after Brexit.

BMW has warned about the damage of Brexit uncertainty, and in May chief executive Harald Krueger said the company had to remain "flexible" about production facilities.

The new car is due to go into production in 2019, months after the UK leaves the EU. With drivetrains being imported into the UK and many completed cars exported back to Europe, there's a risk costs could rise sharply if tariffs are introduced on cross-channel trade. But the company insists it can only make decisions based on the current economic realities. There has been no "special deal" done with the British government, it says - and nor has it asked for one.

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