Back in early February, there was a report in British media about BMW Group’s intention to build electric vehicles at the MINI plant in Oxford. However, it’s only now the automotive conglomerate is confirming the plan. More than £600 million (about $727M or €692M at current exchange rates) will be spent to make it happen. The EVs confirmed to go into production are the 3-Door hatchback and the upcoming Aceman small crossover. It’s worth noting that some of the funds will be directed to the body-pressing facility in Swindon.
The BMW Group says this major investment will be partially supported by the UK government, but without going into details about how much money each party will spend. Meanwhile, the two cars are going to be assembled in China by Spotlight Automotive, a 50:50 joint venture with Great Wall Motor. The 3-Door electric hatch will be the first to hit the assembly line at the factory in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province, with the Aceman to follow next year after its confirmed world premiere in April 2024.
As a refresher, the previous-generation Cooper SE had the “Made in UK” label and it will regain it in roughly three years from now. The conventionally powered hatchback with three and five doors will remain in production in Oxford where a next-gen convertible will also be made. Assembly of the previous droptop model was externalized to the VDL Nedcar automotive manufacturing factory in Born, The Netherlands.
By planning to build two EVs and bring production of the convertible in-house, MINI says the Oxford plant will reach an annual output of about 200,000 vehicles in the medium term. In the long run, the factory will assemble only electric vehicles as the objective is to end production of ICE cars no later than 2030.
Speaking of internalizing production, the new Countryman will also be built in-house, specifically at BMW’s Leipzig plant in Germany where both ICE and EV versions of the compact crossovers will roll off the assembly line.
Source: BMW Group