Monthly Archives: April 2016


15 Years of MINI Production at Plant Oxford

15 Years of MINI Production at Plant Oxford

From BMW Group PressClub UK:

Plant Oxford today celebrates 15 years since the first new MINIs rolled off the production line on 26 April, 2001.

The BMW Group, which is marking its centenary year in 2016, acquired the plant in 1994 and relaunched the brand in 2001 with the debut of the new MINI Hatch.

Since then more than 2.5 million MINIs have been produced in Oxford, with the three million milestone expected to be hit later this year. 80 per cent of the cars made here are exported to more than 110 countries around the world.

The 2001 MINI launch was the reinvention of a British motoring icon, which generated headlines around the world. As well as making the news, the car was subsequently recognised with several industry awards after it went on sale. This included being voted ‘Car of the Year’ in 2001 by leading UK weekly car magazine, Auto Express. Impressed by the car’s driving abilities, quality levels and safety features, the magazine praised the fact that the classic Mini’s DNA was “unmistakable” in the new car.

Sales of MINI, both in the UK and internationally, have gone from strength to strength over the last 15 years. In its first year nearly 40,000 MINIs were sold worldwide. By 2015 this number had risen to nearly 340,000, with more than 63,000 sold to customers in the UK – the highest since the brand’s relaunch.

Frank Bachmann, Managing Director of MINI Plant Oxford, said: “MINI is an iconic British brand that has made a remarkable journey over the past 15 years. In that time we’ve more than doubled our capacity and gone from producing just one model to an entire range of MINIs that have proved hugely popular with customers around the world. Making 1,000 high-quality cars to individual order each day is a huge challenge but we succeed in doing so because of the passion and expertise of our workforce. Today, we celebrate what’s been achieved so far and look forward to an even brighter future here in Oxford – the heart of MINI production.”

The plant’s automotive history dates back to 1913 when the great designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist William Morris (later Lord Nuffield), produced its first car, a “Bullnose” Morris, near today’s present state-of-the-art MINI production facility. The classic Mini was produced at Oxford from 1959 until 1968 with a peak output of 94,889 cars during 1966/67.

Today, more than 4,500 people are employed at the site in Cowley, which manufactures around 1,000 cars a day, including three and five door MINIs, the MINI Clubman and its first all-wheel drive All4 model – and the high-performance MINI John Cooper Works.

Three UK plants have had a part to play in MINI production – Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces body pressings and sub-assemblies for MINI, and this all comes together at Oxford with body shell production, paint and final assembly. Together these plants have helped to generate and sustain employment for thousands of people directly and indirectly though the wider supply chain and retailers.

Between 2012 and 2015 BMW Group invested £750 million at the plants, taking investment in UK production to £1.75 billion since 2000. At Oxford this has included a state-of-the-art paintshop, a high-technology body building facility, a new final assembly area, a new logistics centre, Quality and Engineering Centre and the MINIcademy, where the plant’s apprentices are trained.

Joining Technician Chris Wherritt is one of 22 current plant associates who began their careers as apprentices in 2001.

Chris said: “Starting my apprenticeship straight from school was exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time. After all, 2001 was a big year for the plant — I knew it would be a big change but I wasn’t aware at the time just how successful the new MINI was going to be. I already had a position secured for after my apprenticeship when the 2001 MINI rolled off the production line, and the launch was all over the news — that’s when I knew both the MINI and I had a bright future ahead of us.”

Helen Evans, currently in her first year as an engineering apprentice, said: “I’ve always been fascinated by cars and so seeing MINI’s transformation while still paying homage to the original has been really interesting. It’s been a great experience working at the plant so far and I’m really excited to see how my career with MINI will evolve in the future.”

The first MINIs – which were registered with ‘Y’ prefixed number plates – are now considered by many enthusiasts and fans of the brand to be modern classics.

MINI enthusiast Tanya Field, whose husband Jason works at the plant in IT, is working to set up a new club – Y REGister – to bring together owners of MINIs made in Oxford in 2001.

Tanya said: “Today is a wonderful milestone for MINI Plant Oxford. The first MINIs are 15 years old and are now becoming modern classics and are increasingly collectable. The creation of the Y REGister shows the growing interest in these MINIs and the heritage of the modern MINI.  As someone who’s passionate about the plant’s heritage, this is something that’s really important to me.”

Editor’s notes

  • MINI is the only car in the segment that offers Head Up Display, which projects important information into the driver’s line of vision, thus eliminating the need to take their eyes off the road.
  • The John Cooper Works Hatch has the best power to weight ratio in the segment as well as the highest top speed and the best acceleration of a non 4-wheel drive car in the segment.
  • MINI Cooper D is the fastest accelerating car to be sub 100kg / km in the segment.
  • MINI Touch Controller enables users to draw in postcodes using their fingertips.

 


Thomas Felbermair named new Vice President, MINI Region Americas

Thomas Felbermair

Thomas Felbermair

David Duncan

David Duncan

BMW Group just announced that Thomas Felbermair, VP MINI Europe, will take over the role of Vice President, MINI Region Americas currently held by David Duncan.  Duncan will move on to BMW Group.

From BMW Group PressClub USA:

Woodcliff Lake, NJ – April 14, 2016… BMW of North America, LLC (BMW NA) today announced new appointments within its senior management team. David Duncan will transition to a BMW Group position as the Head of Corporate and Special Sales for the company while Thomas Felbermair will join as Vice President, MINI Region Americas, Duncan’s former role. These appointments take effect May 1, 2016.

In his new role as Department Head, Corporate and Special Sales, Duncan will lead the team responsible for European Delivery, Corporate Fleet Sales, Executive Allowance Sales and Daily Rental Account Sales. The position is a BMW Group function supporting multiple brands within the company portfolio including BMW, MINI and BMW Motorcyles. He will collaborate closely with the sales department, regional offices, field teams, and the dealers to continue volume development of corporate and special sales accounts.

An 18-year employee of the BMW Group, Duncan has extensive business experience in various leadership positions within the organization. He joined the company as an area manager for BMW Motorcycles on the West Coast in 1998. Three years later he moved over to the MINI brand where he established the original U.S. dealer network prior to the 2002 re-launch of the brand in the market. Duncan then transferred over to the BMW brand in 2004 as Center Development Manager in the eastern region before being promoted to Regional Sales and Marketing Manager in 2006. He rejoined MINI in 2009 first as Department Manager of Product Strategy, later assuming responsibility for MINI Sales and Aftersales in 2010, and finally leading the MINI organization since 2014.

Thomas Felbermair replaces Duncan as the Vice President, MINI Region Americas. Felbermair will focus on driving sales, service, customer and dealer satisfaction, overseeing the business operations for the brand in the Americas region. He most recently held a similar postion in Germany as Vice President for MINI in the European region.

Felbermair’s automotive career spans more than two decades across multiple aspects of the business from sales and product launches to sports marketing and sponsorships. While much of his background is rooted in sales, Felbermair spent a significant portion of his years in the industry supporting the Porsche Michelin Supercup. He began his career at Audi and then transited to Porsche where he focused on Formula 1 motorsports events, marketing, dealer development and product management. Felbermair later returned to Audi to become the Head of Sales for the brand in Germany where he increased market share to a record 8.6%.  He then moved over to Lamborghini to take on the challenge of running their sales and marketing division before joining the MINI brand in 2015.

“Our business is all about our customers and improving their experience through all aspects of the customer journey,” said Ludwig Willisch, President and CEO, BMW of North America. “These changes will strengthen our business and I congratulate David Duncan on his new role in the burgeoning area of corporate and special sales and we welcome Thomas Felbermair as the new leader of MINI. I know they both will do well.”


worldwide MINI sales for March 2016

new-mini-clubman-463

Global MINI sales are up 6.6% for the month and 5.4% for the year despite disappointing sales in the US.

From BMW Group PressClub Global:

MINI sales were higher in March 2016 than in any previous single month in the brand’s history. A total of 39,061 units were delivered to customers worldwide, an increase of 6.6% compared with the same month last year. In the first quarter of 2016, MINI sales also achieved a new record high with 78,311 units delivered, an increase of 5.4% on last year. “Customers around the world are responding to the attractive new models we have in our line-up, as is proven by our record sales,” said Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW AG Management Board member responsible for MINI, BMW Motorrad and Rolls-Royce. “The recently launched MINI Clubman in particular is attracting new customers, with a total of over 12,000 sold so far this year,” he added.

March 2016 March 2015 change year-to-date 2016 year-to-date 2015 change
39,061 36,635 6.6% 78,311 74,312 5.4%

See all MINI sales worldwide by month.


MINI USA sales for March 2016

 

MINI USA sales for March 2016

MINI USA sales for the month are down again (-18.3%).  Sales for 2016 are down 15.2%.

From BMW Group PressClub USA:

MINI Brand Sales

For March, MINI USA reported 4,762 automobiles sold, a decrease of 18.3 percent from the 5,829 sold in the same month a year ago. Year-to-date, MINI USA reported a total of 10,839 automobiles sold, a decrease of 15.2 percent from 12,777 automobiles sold in the first three months of 2015.

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MINI Pre-Owned Vehicles

  • Sales of MINI NEXT (certified pre-owned) set a March record with 1,090 vehicles, up 15.8 percent over March 2015.
  • Total MINI Pre-Owned sales also set a March record with 2,442 cars, an increase of 16.1 percent from March 2015.
  • Total MINI Pre-Owned sales year-to-date were 6,526, a 13.5 percent increase from the first three months of 2015.

 

March 2016 March 2015 change year-to-date 2016 year-to-date 2015 change
4,762 5,829 -18.3% 10,839 12,777 -15.2%

See MINI sales in the USA by month.