July 6, 2009.
Just weeks after celebrating MINI’s 50th birthday, another landmark was reached today as the 1.5 millionth car rolled off Plant Oxford’s production line in the UK, since the launch of the new MINI in 2001.
BMW Group board member, Ian Robertson and UK Business Minister Ian Lucas MP joined a group of Plant Oxford apprentices as the Chili red MINI Clubman cleared the end of the production line.
Since production started at Oxford in 2001, MINI has become a global phenomenon, winning plaudits and awards all over the world and is now sold in more than 80 countries, including the US where it continues to outperform the market.
Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Sales and Marketing, said: “This is a great day for the plant and a wonderful milestone to reach in the 50th birthday year of MINI. The very first classic Mini rolled off the production line here at this plant on 8 May 1959.
“It was wonderful to see the passion that owners feel for MINI at the car’s recent birthday celebrations at Silverstone, when 25,000 people from around the world joined the party. It is a privilege to be part of the heritage and future of this car.”
Robertson added, “This is a tough time for the automobile industry and no business is immune from its challenges, but MINI is an extremely resilient brand with huge customer appeal and we have seen a strengthening order bank in recent months. We will launch a number of new models in the coming years and we are optimistic for the future.”
The US continues to play a strong and growing role in MINI’s worldwide sales success. Already, MINI sells more in the US than any other market. Last month, MINI USA reported sales of 4,105 automobiles and year-to-date, MINI USA also reported sales of 20,885 automobiles.
“In June, we saw consumers coming back into dealerships in some metro areas like Boston, New York and Los Angeles and that's encouraging,” said Jim McDowell, Vice President of MINI USA. “The positive results in those three areas have helped to decouple MINI somewhat from the industry decline and we continue to outperform the market by a wide margin.”
MINI USA has confirmed its intention to expand its 83-strong US dealer network by 20 percent during the next 18 months to a total of 100 outlets across the country.
BMW Group has invested more than $500 million in Plant Oxford since 2001 and a further $160 million in the Hams Hall and Swindon plants, which make up the MINI “Production Triangle” in the UK. The Group employs more than 7,000 people in the UK, and its activities account for 1 percent of the country’s GDP.
In the 41 years between 1959 and 2000, 5.3 million classic Minis were built, so the total when combined with new MINI volume is 6.8 million cars.
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