BMW will invest £600m into the 110-year-old plant that gave birth to the MINI brand in an attempt to ignite the production of the new generation electric model of the small, iconic, four-seated car, according to newspaper reports.
Although Secretary of State for Trade Kemi Badenoch has avoided corroborating the exact figure, unnamed sources have confirmed that the firm’s decision to invest in the Oxford plant is financially supported by the UK government. In addition, the parties involved did not dispute a previous subsidy of £75m by the government to the carmaker, it was reported in the Financial Times.
The £600 investment is, without a doubt, a big win for the UK car-making sector, which recorded last year its lowest level of production since 1956.
It is even better news for the almost 4,000 workers of the plant whose jobs are now secure. Eleven months ago, a setback hit the Oxford factory and its 3,400 employees, when BMW revealed its decision to move the production of electric Minis to China.
Milan Nedeljković, BMW’s board member told the Guardian: “With this new investment we will develop the Oxford plant for production of the new generation of electric MINIs and set the path for purely electric car manufacturing in the future.”
BMW has announced its plans to begin the production of the next-generation electric Mini Cooper in 2026 while continuing to manufacture traditional combustion engines. Starting from 2030 however, the factory will exclusively focus on electric vehicle production.
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“BMW’s investment is another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future,” explained British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.
While the PM seems to be convinced that the UK is doing exceptionally well at supporting the car manufacturing industry, the numbers suggest otherwise. Government investment into the UK’s auto industry has amounted to £6 billion since 2020, which is significantly smaller when compared to the $72 billion allocated by North America following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act in the US last year.