BMW’s investment of £600 million in Oxford's Mini plant will secure more than 4,000 jobs and aims to put the Cowley site on a path to all electric production by 2030.

The Oxford plant’s reputation as the “home of Mini” was cemented this morning when BMW revealed it was investing £600 million in its UK plants, with plans to build the fully electric three-door Mini Cooper and compact crossover Mini Aceman at the site.

Milan Nedeljkovic, a BMW board member, called Mini a “British icon” and said the Oxford plant would continue to build on its record for being the first place where the Mini electric was built back in 2019.

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Secretary of state for business and trade, Kemi Badenoch, said she was “really pleased the investment had come off” and she was aware the auto industry had weathered “headwinds”, including “difficulties with supply chains post Covid” and “increased energy costs”.

Oxford Mail: Kemi Badenoch speaking at the Oxford Mini plant Kemi Badenoch speaking at the Oxford Mini plant (Image: Ed Halford)

From 2024, the plant will start producing the next generation Mini three-door and Mini five-door with combustion engines, as well as the new Mini Convertible before they are joined by the new all-electric vehicles in 2026.

Mr Nedeljkovic said the investment decision was “the basis for the future of manufacturing in Oxford” with the funding also going towards the Swindon plant.

In addition to securing more than 4,000 jobs, Mr Nedeljkovic promised the apprenticeship programme for young people would be “enhanced”.

It followed the Oxford Mail’s finding that there will be planned cuts to temporary staff at the plant.

Mr Nedeljkovic defended the cuts and said: “We use temporary labour to fulfil flexibility needs of this plant and right now we are preparing this plant for the launch of the new generation of combustion engines which will take place in Oxford as well.”

With much speculation surrounding the government’s ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars which is set to come into effect in 2030, Ms Badenoch told the Oxford Mail the government had been “very consistent” with the target.

She said: “What I’m keen to emphasise is that we know it is not an easy transition and what we are working on is how we can be as flexible as possible to make it easier to adjust.

“There is no point putting a deadline in if people aren’t able to make that transition.”

Oxford Mail: Milan Nedeljkovic, Kemi Badenoch and Dr Markus Gruneisl Milan Nedeljkovic, Kemi Badenoch and Dr Markus Gruneisl (Image: Ed Halford)

Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds said the investment was a “vote of confidence in our local workforce” and she described the announcement as the “culmination of years of hard work by those at the Cowley plant”.

She said: “I am delighted that it is now beyond doubt that the electric Mini’s future is in Cowley- the home of the iconic Mini.”

However, Oxford West and Abingdon MP Layla Moran said that despite being "incredibly pleased" she believed the government's support for car manufacturing was "sorely lacking".

She said: "They have failed to produce any coherent industrial strategy and refused to align on EU tariffs which is generating headache after headache for businesses."

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Oxfordshire County Council leader and Liberal Democrat Liz Leffman struck a different tone, saying it was “fantastic news” for thousands of people and Oxfordshire’s economy.

She said: "An investment of this scale shows the faith being placed in Oxford to produce the latest all-electric, emission-free models of this iconic car which is synonymous with the city.

“As the sign outside the Cowley plant proudly proclaims, Oxford is ‘the home of Mini.

“Long may that continue.”

In 2022, more than 50 per cent of all fully electric vehicles manufactured in the UK came from the Oxford plant.

Stefanie Wurst, head of the Mini brand, said: “Mini has always been aware of its history- Oxford is and remains at the heart of the brand.

“I am delighted that the two new, fully electric Mini models- the Mini Cooper and Mini Aceman- are also being produced in Oxford, thereby confirming our path to a fully electric future.”

Oxford Mail: Delegates at the press conference on Monday morning in Cowley Delegates at the press conference on Monday morning in Cowley (Image: Ed Halford)

Oxford City Council leader Susan Brown said the investment would “strengthen Oxford’s position as a key player in the global electric vehicle industry” and this would “benefit small businesses in the area”.

She said: “Mini Plant Oxford is an integral part of Oxford's history, economy and identity.

"The plant has been at the heart of our city's communities and industry for over a century, and we look forward to working with BMW and others to help ensure it stays that way for generations to come, starting with the planning."