German-based multinational automaker group BMW announced their plans to invest approximately $750 million in a Mini sub-brand plant in the UK after years of uncertainty caused by Brexit. The funds will be utilised to upgrade the factory in Oxford to facilitate the manufacturing of electric Minis as the company strives to become 100% EV in the years to come.
From 2026, the BMW Group will produce two electric vehicles at its Mini plant in Oxford: the Mini Cooper 3-door and the tiny crossover Mini Aceman. According to BMW’s production chief, Milan Nedeljkovic, the factory will produce only electric vehicles from 2030 onward. All of these models will be exported to the markets worldwide.
Nedeljkovic stated that the brand wants to use European-made batteries in the new Oxford-made models. Still, he did not indicate whether they would originate in the UK, noting that it would depend on the market’s appeal to its suppliers. Both of these models will also be manufactured in China and will be exported in 2024.
BMV’s Strategy for Expansion in the Oxford Plant
The investment in the Oxford plant is a cornerstone of BMW’s ambition to increase the number of electric vehicles it offers and support the global transition to sustainable mobility. BMW hopes to satisfy the increasing demand for electric cars and lower carbon emissions by switching the Mini brand to electric vehicles. Additionally, this choice is in line with broader initiatives by governments and automakers to hasten the adoption of electric vehicles and meet carbon neutrality targets.
According to BMW, the UK government has provided necessary assistance for this project by expediting the investment procedure.
Kemi Badenoch, Business Minister of the UK, commented, “We want auto manufacturing not just to stay in the UK, but to be the best in the world, and this is also part of that story.” She, however, declined to comment on the amount of subsidies that BMW will get for producing the Mini, which is estimated to be $93 million.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also commented that BMW’s investment is just another clear indication of why the UK is the finest location for producing future-generation automobiles.
BMW Swindon Plant Investment Plans
BMW is also planning to invest in another plant, which is located in Swindon, southwest of the UK. This plant is said to be designing parts for the Mini models. The automaker group did not mention anything about what would happen to its engine plant in Hams Hall, near Birmingham.
The original Mini debuted in 1959 and remained popular under BMW until the company revived the brand in 2001. But its future in the UK has been looking uncertain for the past few years over worries that Brexit would lead the company to move production to Germany, China, or another country.
However, the post-Brexit “rules of origin,” which mandate that by 2024, 45% of the value of an EV sold in the EU must originate in Britain or the EU in order to avoid tariffs, are still causing concern in the industry. Both British and European automakers are seeking a delay in the implementation of these rules.