The clock is ticking for the UK-built Cooper SE pictured here considering the next generation debuting later this year will not be made at the Oxfordshire plant. Instead, the revamped small electric hatchback will be manufactured in China as part of the Spotlight Automotive joint venture the BMW Group has created with Great Wall Motors. The same tie-up also includes a production version of the Aceman concept, which will also wear the “made in China” label rather than being built at home in Cowley.
While a fully electric variant of the next-gen Countryman has been confirmed, it won’t be built in the UK either. Instead, BMW intends to produce the zero-emission crossover in Leipzig, Germany in late 2023. Where does that leave the Oxford plant in terms of EV manufacturing? That’s a good question, especially since MINI has pledged to go purely electric in the early 2030s.
According to a new report from Sky News, BMW Group isn’t giving up on the idea of making MINI-badged electric cars despite externalizing production of its upcoming two EVs. The UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is currently having talks with MINI’s parent company about a potential £75-million funding package. At current exchange rates, that works out to around $90.4M or €84M. If everything goes according to plan, the deal could be finalized in the coming weeks.
Approximately 80% of the vehicles produced by the 4,000-people workforce in Oxford are sold outside of the UK. Since production of the modern MINI started back in 2001, over three million vehicles have been assembled. More than 1,000 cars are assembled on a daily basis at the site.
As a refresher, the BMW Group has already announced plans to build the next-generation MINI Convertible in the UK. The current model is assembled by the manufacturing company VDL Nedcar in The Netherlands, with its replacement slated to arrive close to the middle of the decade.
Source: Sky News