The two-millionth MINI was produced in September of last year. Shortly before the new year the exclusive MINI Cooper Convertible, through a contest around its production anniversary, went to its owner: Cees Plug from the Netherlands. This was proudly announced to the MINI Space community. But more than five million Classic Minis were left out of the count. bigblogg therefore went on a search for the other MINIs and Minis from the Millionaire Club. A short trip through time.
Time warp! On August 26, 1959 the British Motor Corporation (BMC) officially began production of the Mini in Longbridge. The demand for the odd-looking small car initially was moderate, and so it’s hardly surprising that the Austin Seven and its structurally-identical brother the Morris Mini-Minor took until the end of 1962 to cross the 500,000 threshold.
Disciplined Joy at Mini No. 500,000 in 1962
But then it suddenly went in rapid succession in the factory near Birmingham. All social barriers were broken. The Mini was suddenly socially acceptable and soon about 200,000 units of the 3.05 meter dwarf rolled annually off the assembly line. The result: At the beginning of 1965 the one-millionth Mini rolled off the line.
No. 1,000,000: Personally Driven off the Line by Alec Issigonis in 1965
And the success continued both as the sporty, as well as the lifestyle mode of transport in the high-society, and even just as an affordable mass transportation vehicle. In the meantime, the extensive product range (hatchback, wagon, van, pick-up, and sedan) and the expansion of production at Oxford and Seneffe (Belgium) were able to satisfy the growing demand and the number 2,000,000 was celebrated in 1969. The world was Mini.
1969: 3 Men on the Moon and 2 Million Minis on Earth
In the early ’70s Mini mania reached its peak: a total of more than 300,000 cars per year rolled off of the various production lines. No wonder, then, that in October 1972 the next million was reached. The third million, that is. Such a figure that, at the current production volume, the New MINI won’t achieve before 2015.
For 3 million Mini, One Can Put on a Small Cap in 1972
But the flower-power decade also brought the turning point in the demand for the British heritage goods. Within a few years the production volume dropped off by 50 percent. Though the four-millionth Mini could be celebrated in 1976, it took around ten years for Mini no. 5,000,000.
A Clubman is No. 4,000,000, the Club Girl Was Not Included in 1976
But the Mini remained resilient. Despite steadily declining sales figures, the iconic little car lasted until 2000. Only after 5,387,862 Minis was production finally concluded.
1986: The Last Million Celebration at Longbridge. It’s the Fifth in Nearly 30 Years.
Its successor, the MINI was already waiting in the wings in the newly renovated Plant Oxford. Production began in April 2001 and sales in July. Interesting note: the start then was—as with its ancestor—initially a little sluggish.
The Modern Age: In 2004 the 500,000th MINI Rolled off the Line in Oxford
Thus it’s hardly surprising that the first half-million of the new MINI was achieved only after more than three years, with the full one million passed in almost another three years. On April 4, 2007 this anniversary was celebrated with a special one-a-kind.
Generation Reunion in the Millionaire Club: The Two 1,000,000th Cars in 2007
They put forth less effort for No. 1,500,000 in 2009. A large sticker and a handshake from BMW Board Member Ian Robertson must suffice for the handover to the customer.
2009 Once Again a Clubman. It is No. 1,500,000
2011, ten years after the launch of MINI production in Oxford, the procedure again looks quite different. No less than the British Prime Minister David Cameron was allowed to roll the two-millionth MINI out of the plant.
A Break with Tradition: 2011 Is The First Time for a Convertible Milestone Model
This act is proof of the repetition of a success story. With around 216,000 units in 2010, MINI is actually the third largest vehicle manufacturer in the United Kingdom. To accomplish this, today in Oxford about 3,700 employees work five days a week in two shifts to produce up to 900 MINIs a day. The maximum capacity of the plant rose steadily from about 100,000 to 200,000 units per year. MINI plans medium-term for a yearly capacity of 260,000 units in the plants in Oxford and Graz (Austria) provided that customers remain loyal to the brand, which itself is an expanding product range.
Until the next milestone, all MINI / Mini from the Millionaire Club are in the bigblogg gallery.
[Originally appeared on bigblogg.com. Written by Axel Griesinger. Translated by James Day.]