Enthusiasts might bemoan the idea of front-wheel drive BMWs but customers are loving them. So much so, in fact, that BMW might be buying another factory in the UK to keep up with demand for front-wheel drive Bimmers, specifically the BMW X1 and, likely, the upcoming 1 Series.
According to this recent report from Autocar, the Bavarians are eyeing up buy a Honda plant in Swindon, England to help make UKL-based BMWs. The Honda plant currently builds Civics but is scheduled to end production in 2021, which is when BMW would take over if such a deal is made.
Currently, BMW builds MINIs, a large portion of UKL-based vehicles, in its Oxford plant. But it also builds MINIs in its VDL Nedcar factory in the Netherlands, where it also builds the X1 and other UKL vehicles. However, it seems as if VDL will be slowing production down and the Bavarians will be shunting some of the production to Swindon if possible. It’s also reduced its workforce by more than 1,000 employees. This would indicate BMW’s plans to expand production elsewhere.
The BMW X1 is a massive seller for the brand, accounting for 13-percent of global sales. In fact, all UKL vehicles sell well, with the Bavarian brand moving 687,000 UKL vehicles last year alone.
So production needs to increase, especially considering the launch of the new front-wheel drive 1 Series hatchback, which is going to be a huge seller. But the Oxford plant can’t handle any more production, as it’s running at max capacity, building 1,100 cars per day. So a new plant in the UK will help ease some UKL production. It will also help ease supply lines in a post-Brexit world, which is going to be tricky.
Though, it’s good to see BMW building more cars in the UK and strengthening its relationship there.