Car number 3,000,000 is a John Cooper Works Clubman.
The last classic Mini rolled off the Longbridge assembly line on October 4, 2000 and marked the end of an era for the cutesy little car designed by Sir Alec Issigonis and launched in 1959. A new chapter began in 2001 when the Oxford factory kicked off assembly of the modern Mini. Back then, approximately 300 units were made on a daily basis whereas now the BMW-owned marque is producing about 1,000 cars each day thanks to its 4,500-employee workforce putting together a new car almost every minute. Besides the six-door Clubman, Mini’s Oxford plant also produces the three- and five-door hatchbacks and their JCW versions.
Most of the cars are leaving U.K. as 80 percent of the production goes to more than 110 export markets, with deliveries standing at almost 340,000 units in 2015. That’s an impressive number if we take into account in 2001 when the Oxford plant was opened nearly 40,000 cars were delivered worldwide.
The milestone car, a John Cooper Works Clubman, was built yesterday and it comes to celebrate 15 years of Mini production at the Oxford plant. At the same time, it coincides with the centenary year for Mini’s parent company BMW.
The Oxford plant is in charge of body shell production, paint, and final assembly, while the Hams Hall factory near Birmingham is responsible for the engines and the Swindon facility takes care of the body pressings and sub-assemblies. To make all this happen, BMW has invested so far a total of £1.75 billion (about $2.2B), with some of the money going into a new logistics center, a quality and engineering center, as well as in the MINIacademy where apprentices are being trained.
What does the future hold for the Mini brand? A hardcore JCW GP will return some years from now, while the Paceman might be transformed into a Countryman Coupe. Meanwhile, an all-electric model has already been confirmed for a 2019 launch.