THE Cowley-built Mini Hatch has been hailed as “head and shoulders above the competition” after picking up a top industry award.
Bosses were last night celebrating after the third generation of the car was crowned Auto Express Car of the Year 2014 to the delight of workers at the plant where special celebrations will be laid on marking the achievement.
Tom Bradford, body shop production manager, said: “It is fantastic news. We are all over the moon and it gives us a sense of pride.
“We have been committed to this new car for years in terms of preparation and training and development and this is a vindication of all that effort. People appreciate what we have delivered here.”
Mini parent company BMW has invested £750m in the production of the new car launched in November 2013 and has built 30,000sq m of extra manufacturing space on to the body shop to accommodate it.
But even with that, demand is expected to exceed supply quickly with the car now being on sale in 114 countries worldwide, the latest additions being Angola, Vietnam and Sri Lanka.
As a result, a new plant in Holland will open tomorrow, which is set to boost production to more than 400,000 cars a year.
Mini spokesman Maarten Abele added: “Oxford is no longer capable of meeting the clamour for this car. The car will be sold in even more places and the new plant will help deliver cars more quickly to the customer.”
- The body shop at BMW Mini at Cowley
Oxford East MP Andrew Smith greeted the news as “fantastic”.
He said: “It is a very fitting tribute to the effort put in by everybody at the plant. The Mini has exceeded the expectations of everybody at BMW and the fact they are starting to manufacture in Holland is because of the scale of its success in Oxford.”
As well picking up the overall Car of the Year title, the Mini was also voted Best Premium Small Car at the awards.
The car costs from £13,750 and went on sale in November 2013.
Auto Express editor Steve Fowler said the new version of the car was “way ahead” of rivals such as the Fiat 500 and Vauxhall Adam.
He added: “There are a lot of small, premium cars coming on the market but the Mini is head and shoulders above them.
“This generation and the last may look similar but that is about it as the new car is so advanced. It has the fittings you would expect on a much more expensive car and there is masses of technology on board.
“We love the way it drives and it is also built brilliantly in Britain – a car the UK can be proud of.”
Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Our top stories
6:26pm Thursday 25th December 2014
SNOW could fall in Oxfordshire tomorrow, the Met Office has confirmed.
12:48pm Thursday 25th December 2014
THERE will be more than a few surprise Christmas gifts received in Oxfordshire this morning, but two families are celebrating very special (little) ones.
9:00am Wednesday 24th December 2014
A WINDFALL of more than £87m will be spent on fixing potholes across Oxfordshire from next year.
8:39pm Wednesday 24th December 2014
A FAMILY were left without Christmas gifts today, after burglars broke into their home and stole them, police said.
11:23am Wednesday 24th December 2014
YOUNGSTERS looking up in wonderment on Christmas Eve might just be able to catch a glimpse of what they think is Santa and his reindeer tonight.
6:00am Tuesday 9th December 2014
December is Advent Calendar time and we have a special new interactive graphic for you each and every day until Christmas Eve. I've chosen the best 24 pictures of 2014 and I'll be unveiling one a day - so what is behind's today's door?