We heard this week that BMW plans to invest £250m in its UK factories over the next three years. This is additional to the £500m of investment already confirmed by the manufacturer in June 2011, and reinforces the trend in global carmakers growing their British manufacturing operations. Firms including Jaguar Land Rover, BMW and Toyota have invested more than £5.5bn in the UK in the past two years.
“The news of further investment in British automotive manufacturing is certainly a cause for celebration, both for those directly involved in manufacturing and for the wider motor industry,” comments Christine Joyce, Managing Director, CJAM. “It also delivers a sense of optimism to the UK manufacturing sector as a whole.”
BMW’s latest investment will be used to increase production of the MINI at its factories in Oxford, Birmingham and Swindon. The Oxford-based MINI plant has produced 2m cars since 2001 and will remain the “international hub and centre of excellence for MINI manufacturing,” BMW board member Harald Kreuger confirmed during his speech at the plant. He also spoke of a medium-term plan to outsource a proportion of MINI manufacturing to a Dutch company.
Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was present for the announcement, emphasised the importance of the UK remaining the worldwide centre of production for MINI, while Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the “vote of confidence in British manufacturing”. More than 5,500 British workers are involved in the manufacture of the iconic car.
The UK automotive manufacturing sector is also making impressive progress as a whole, reporting a 12% increase in turnover to £55bn, while significantly cutting its carbon footprint. Groundbreaking reductions in energy and water use, carbon emissions and waste to landfill have been confirmed across the country’s auto manufacturing operations, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ (SMMT) annual sustainability report reveals.
“The current British auto manufacturing revival is strengthened by the news of its impressive progress on reducing its environmental impacts,” concludes Joyce. “It’s wonderful to see a British industry with such a rich heritage doing so well!”