BMW is said to be in advanced talks with the government about reversing its decision to transfer production of the electric Mini from its Oxford plant to China.
Last year the car maker announced plans to move production of their electric Minis to China stating that the Oxford plant was running inefficiently by having to produce both electric and petrol vehicles.
However, reports suggest a support package from the Automotive Transformation Fund is being negotiated that would secure production of electric Minis at the Oxfordshire plant which currently employs around 4,000 people.
Sky News reported that a deal might be complete ‘within weeks’ and worth ‘upto £75 million’.
Last October, BMW said the production of its small SUV electric Minis and hatchbacks would be moving to China. A spokesman at the time insisted that the Oxford plant would ‘remain at the heart of Mini production’ and there would be ‘no impact on jobs’ as British workers would continue to build the Mini Cooper three-door and five-door Hatch models in the UK.
However, with the brand claiming it will go fully electric by 2030, questions were being asked as to the future of the vehicles being made in Britain.
So it’s been welcome news that BMW and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are trying to save the production of the electric vehicles from moving overseas.
A government spokesman told Sky News:
“The UK is one of the best locations in the world for automotive manufacturing.
“Investment through the Automotive Transformation Fund will develop a high-value end-to-end electrified automotive supply chain in the UK, and this includes unlocking private investment in gigafactories.
“We’re also working with industry through the Automotive Council’s Skills Working Group to ensure the UK automotive industry can support and develop the skills needed for sustainable success.”
Mini has already confirmed that production of the next-generation Convertible will switch from the Netherlands to the UK and be built at the Oxford plant.
Head of the Mini brand Stefanie Wurst said production of the Convertible will switch to Oxford from the Netherlands in its next generation in 2024 or 2025.
“The Convertible is coming home,” said Wurst on the decision.
Wurst said the Oxford plant is secure in the long term as part of the brand’s desire to stay true to its British roots and origin and more models “are possible” beyond the six in the next-generation line-up.
Photo credit: Photo permission from MINI, Cowley, Oxford