BMW Group Plant Swindon today (17th September 2007) celebrates the start of production of the MINI Clubman, and has announced a significant saving in truck movements as the majority of steel deliveries to the Preymesser GmbH warehouse in Swindon switch from road to rail.
Following a £200 million investment by BMW Group between 2005 and 2007 in its MINI production triangle in the UK, linking its pressings plant in Swindon, its engine plant in Hams Hall near Birmingham and its vehicle assembly plant in Oxford, production capacity is on target to exceed 200,000 vehicles this year and reach 240,000 vehicles in the medium term. 2007 will also see more than 220,000 MINIs delivered to customers worldwide.
Klaus Hauser, managing director of BMW Group Plant Swindon, welcomed the Mayor of Swindon and guests from the Swindon business community, along with the Plant’s MINI Clubman project team.
Klaus Hauser said: “With the launch of the MINI Clubman, the third MINI derivative, we are expecting new production and sales records for MINI this year which is great news for Swindon and the UK automotive industry. The new model is another milestone for the plant and we are confident that it will offer an exciting next chapter in the MINI success story. We look forward to our employees continuing to make a vital contribution to the development of a great British brand – the MINI.”
Plant Swindon is also working with suppliers to reduce its carbon footprint. Following Swindon Borough Council’s decision to approve planning permission for a new steel warehouse in Swindon for Preymesser GmbH, steel is delivered to the plant on a just-in-time basis. Currently all steel coils are delivered to the warehouse by road. From this autumn approximately 116,000 tonnes of steel, representing 80 per cent of Plant Swindon’s total annual steel consumption, will arrive at the warehouse by rail saving 5,300 truck movements each year.
Klaus Hauser was also joined by 10 employees to celebrate their long service awards. In total, they have achieved 325 years service at the plant. Klaus Hauser said: “This is a tremendous achievement and we are delighted they were able to join us. They have seen many changes over the years. The plant, in which they have spent so much of their lives, now looks forward to a robust and positive future.”
The Swindon plant received £60 million for MINI body pressings and sub-assembly technologies, Hams Hall nearly £30 million to build a new, advanced family of petrol engines especially for MINI and the Oxford plant received more than £100 million to expand production capacity from the previous record level of 200,000 vehicles in 2005.
The increase in capacity, flexibility and greater efficiency means Plant Swindon is now responsible for 90 per cent of the pressings and 80 per cent of the body shell sub-assembly work for MINI. The investment has resulted in an extensive modernisation programme with the very latest press and seam technology being used.
Production of the MINI Clubman comes just one year after the launch of the new MINI Hatch. Thanks to the investment in Plant Swindon and the plant’s full integration into the MINI production triangle, the MINI Clubman has been introduced into the existing production facilities.
To meet this challenge, new flexible shift patterns for its workforce of 1,100 associates have been established which complement the patterns across the Oxford and Hams Hall plants. All three plants can respond together to changes in market demand and customer requirements. The MINI production triangle brings the number of associates across the three plants to 6,800.
Launched by BMW Group in 2001, more than one million MINIs have so far been produced and sold with 75 per cent of production being exported to more than 70 markets worldwide.
MINI dealers have invested close to £40 million in the last two years in expanding or moving premises, enabling them to present the huge choice of models, options and accessories to customers in the showroom. Demand from UK customers continues to grow year by year with 2007 sales up nearly 14 per cent. Residual values remain amongst the best in the industry.Published 18 September 2007