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Electric Mini Production to Boost UK Car Industry

Electric Mini Production to Boost UK Car Industry

BMW has given a boost to the UK car industry by confirming that the production of its new electric Mini will start in Cowley in November.

Deliveries of the brand's first fully electric car will start in March 2020.

Earlier this year, a BMW board member said the company would have to consider moving car production out of the UK if there was a no-deal Brexit.

But David George, head of Mini UK, told the BBC the UK was firmly in the company's plans going forward.

"It is too early to say what the impact of Brexit will be," he told the BBC. "But as a business, we have committed and invested heavily over recent years in our production facilities in the UK, so we remain committed to UK production.

"The team here at Plant Oxford are incredibly proud that it's been chosen to be the plant to launch the first all-electric Mini."

When asked if that meant the company would still be producing cars in the country in 10 years' time, he said: "It is impossible to see that far ahead.

"However, the UK is an important part of our capacity requirements for the future."

The new bit of the electric Mini - the drivetrain - will be produced in Dingolfing in Bavaria, before being brought to Cowley to be added into the car.

"We source components for the cars in multiple places," George added. "We do our body pressings in Swindon, so we make the best of what we can from across different manufacturers. But we're delighted to be producing the car here in Oxford."

The news comes after announcements this year about Ford proposing to close its plant in Bridgend and Honda revealing plans to shut its plant in Swindon, with the loss of about 3,500 jobs. BMW originally announced that Cowley would be the production base for the car in the summer of 2017.

Earlier that year, though, its chief executive had warned that the company needed to remain "flexible" about its production facilities because of Brexit uncertainty.

The state-of-the art automated Cowley plant has more than 1,000 robots on the assembly line and produces a car about once a minute.

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