Sky News has revealed that BMW, the German car manufacturer, is applying the finishing touches to plans for hundreds of millions of pounds of investment into its MINI plant in Oxford, securing future production of the iconic MINI in Britain and hopes to announce its decision later in the spring.
If confirmed, the investment package – which is thought to be worth close to £500 million – would deliver a significant boost to Britain’s car industry, with the news outlet adding that roughly £75 million of the funding would be from the government’s Automotive Transformation Fund, having been signed off by the chancellor, Jeremy Hunt.
It was unclear exactly how the total investment would be structured or the specific implications for job creation and retention at the company’s MINI production site in Oxford.
But this can only be seen as good news for the UK car industry after it emerged that the sector had had its worst year in terms of production since the 1950s.
The industry has faced major supply chain issues, including component bottlenecks, and the gloom enveloping the industry deepened further after the recent collapse of Britishvolt, the fledgling electric vehicle battery manufacturer.
The company, which had plans to build a gigafactory to make the batteries in Northumberland, appointed administrators at EY after failing to raise enough cash for its research and developing its site near Blyth.
Responding to an enquiry from Sky News, a BMW spokesperson said the company did not comment on “media speculation” but added, “With its high degree of flexibility, competitiveness and expertise, the Oxford plant plays an important role in the BMW Group’s production network.
“For the next MINI generation, Oxford will produce the majority of MINI models, the MINI Cooper three-door and five-door models, as well as the MINI Convertible – one of our most important vehicles and a worldwide bestseller.”
BMW had previously announced in 2021 that it would cease making the electric MINI in Oxford, adding last October that the UK plant would instead build the MINI Cooper three-door and five-door Hatch models.
BMW’s all-electric MINI models – a hatchback and a small crossover – will be produced in China as part of a partnership with Great Wall, one of the country’s biggest carmakers, and the MINI Countryman will be built in Leipzig, Germany.