• All-new MINI Hatch unveiled at Plant Oxford
  • Contemporary evolution of classic MINI design, with improved features and higher quality
  • Debut of new ground-breaking three-cylinder engines
  • State-of-the-art connectivity and premium technology, including new driver assistance equipment
  • New interactive display concept using LEDs
  • Outstanding MINI handling makes it even more fun to drive
  • Built in Oxford with the UK market launch in Spring 2014
  • Pricing from £15,300 OTR

MINI has today unveiled the new MINI Hatch, the car which has defined a segment since 2001.

Even though the new MINI is instantly recognisable – something which comes from having such a globally identifiable design – the car is completely new from the ground up. Every component has been back to the drawing board in an effort to optimise its function, performance and style.

The result is ‘The New Original’, a MINI which is distinctly familiar but enhanced in every single way. It features significant improvements in technology, engine efficiency and power delivery, driving dynamics, quality and – of course – personalisation. Inside, the new MINI Hatch is quieter than the outgoing model, with improvements to acoustic refinement inside the cabin.

The new MINI Hatch is more spacious than before, safer, finished to an even higher standard and provides the driver with a more dynamic and performance-oriented experience behind the wheel.

Inside the cabin, new technology ensures that the new MINI is the most connected car in its segment. A new LED display concept, the first of its kind, provides the driver with visual feedback whilst operating the car and creates a premium ambience. It reflects a maturity and confidence in the brand’s design and engineering, a car which pays tribute to its unique British heritage yet stands ready to lead MINI into the second half of the decade and beyond.

New MINI in detail

Exterior: unmistakable design, contemporary style

95ba5904-b90e-4c6d-b6fb-da68ec788987 576610a3-756d-421b-b339-20d5f2cda9d6The body of the new MINI is 3,821mm long (MINI Cooper S is 3,850mm), 1,727mm wide and 1,414mm tall. This makes it 98mm longer, 44mm wider and 7mm taller than its predecessor. The wheelbase has been extended by 28mm, while the track width has been enlarged at the front by 42mm and at the rear by 34mm.  

Behind the changes, the new car has classic MINI proportions and an instantly familiar design that’s packed with character. Traditional cues such as the hexagonal contour of the radiator grille, circular headlights, ‘side scuttle’ indicator surrounds, upright rear light clusters and black lower body edging have all been subtly reinterpreted.

In profile, the tapering line of the glass creates a dynamic wedge shape. Below, a visual link between the front and rear wheel arches comes via a striking lower sill line and upper character line, which feature downward curves at both ends.

The new MINI is the first car in its segment to offer the option of LED headlamps for both dipped and main beam. They are surrounded by an LED daylight driving ring, the lower section of which reaches down to the white turn indicators. The rear light clusters also feature an all-LED design.

Five new exterior colours have been added to MINI’s already extensive palette, while the roof and exterior mirror caps can be finished in a contrasting colour –black or white– as a no-cost option. Roof rails are available for the new MINI for the first time. Other ways of adding a touch of individual style include black or white bonnet stripes.

Interior: hallmark MINI style, new display and operating concept

The new MINI’s exterior dimensions mean greater room for up to four occupants and their luggage, including enhanced shoulder space and larger footwells. The front seats have been given a wider adjustment range, and the base has been lengthened by 23mm for additional comfort and support. A choice of fabric or leather finishes, or a combination of both, is available. It’s also easier than ever for rear seat passengers to gain access to the back.

The rear bench seat back can be split 60:40. For even greater practicality, the optional storage package includes a luggage compartment floor which can be locked into place at various points and the rear seat backrest features tilt-angle adjustment. Boot volume has been increased by more than 30 per cent to 211 litres. Numerous cupholders and storage facilities make life easier for occupants.

With an instantly recognisable design, state-of-the-art functionality and premium colour/material combinations, there’s no mistaking the dashboard of the new MINI Hatch. The horizontal structure of the cockpit, linked to circular and elliptical details, remains, but has evolved to take on a more sophisticated form.

At the heart of the design changes is a new display and operating concept, illustrated by the instrument cluster on the steering column. Speed, revs and fuel level are displayed on vertically arranged circular dials. The speedometer scale includes a colour panel for messages and vehicle status displays.

The iconic central instrument now has extended functionality. Depending on the optional equipment chosen, it can serve as a four-line TFT display as standard or optional colour screen up to 8.8-inches showing vehicle functions, infotainment, navigation and MINI Connected services. Selection of these functions is performed via a choice of two new controllers, the MINI Controller or MINI Touch Controller, fitted in the centre console which come in conjunction with MINI Visual Boost Radio or the MINI Navigation System.

Groundbreaking LED lighting around the new MINI Hatch’s central instrument provides visual feedback to the current situation on the road and to specific operational steps, according to the driver’s preference. For example, when Park Distance Control is activated, the remaining distance to obstacles is shown by means of a ring of light which is illuminated in green, yellow or red – supplementing the graphic display. A change in the car’s driving mode confirmed by LED units which light up in blue, orange or red. Route guidance information provided by the MINI Navigation System is also visually supported by the illuminated ring: the closer the car gets to the turn-off point, the smaller the lit-up area around the edge of the central instrument.

Keyless-go is now standard across the MINI Hatch range. The start/stop toggle switch located in the middle of the centre console features a heartbeat illumination which pulses before the engine is started. A number of switches have been relocated for improved usability, including those for the electric windows, which are now integrated into the door trim.

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Powertrains: three all-new engines, three all-new gearboxes  

The new MINI Hatch features a range of three entirely new engines, each featuring MINI TwinPower Turbo Technology to increase driving fun and improve environmental efficiency. The trio all offer improved performance figures, with maximum power across all three variants produced lower down the rev range, while fuel consumption and emission levels have been reduced by as much as 27 per cent when compared to their predecessor models. All meet the stringent EU6 exhaust emissions criteria.

The new MINI Cooper Hatch has a three-cylinder petrol engine with a peak output of 134bhp. The new MINI Cooper S Hatch is powered by a four-cylinder petrol engine which develops 189bhp. The new MINI Cooper D Hatch comes with a three-cylinder diesel engine with an output of 114bhp. For fuel efficiency this latter model is the undoubted star performer, with average combined economy of 80.7mpg using the EU test cycle.

Engine   MINI Cooper Hatch MINI Cooper D
MINI Cooper S Hatch
Type/no. of cylinders/valves in-line / 3 / 4 in-line / 3 / 4 in-line / 4 / 4
Capacity cc 1499 1496 1998
Bore/stroke mm 82.0 / 94.6 84.0 / 90.0 82.0 / 94.6
Compression :1 11.0 16.5 11.0
Output kW/bhp 100 / 134 85 / 114 141 / 189
at engine speed rpm 4500 – 6000 4000 4700 – 6000
Torque (with overboost) Nm 220 (230) 270 280 (300)
at engine speed rpm 1250 – 4000 1750 1250 – 4750

A six-speed manual transmission is standard featuring rev matching on downward shifts and a six-speed automatic transmission is available as an option on each engine. The automatic transmission sees efficiency improvements against the outgoing model, making a significant contribution towards reducing CO2 levels. For example, the outgoing MINI Cooper D Automatic Hatch produces 135g/km CO2 with the new MINI Cooper D Hatch producing 98g/km CO2.

Both transmission systems are newly developed. The auto features an engine start/stop function for the first time, preventing unnecessary fuel consumption. When used in conjunction with the MINI Navigation System, it’s able to take account of the selected route profile and control gear shifts. Based on navigation data, the appropriate drive position is selected to match the road ahead, preventing unnecessary upshifts.

Now on the options list is a third transmission, a six-speed sports automatic transmission which enables even shorter shift times, features rev matching on downward shifts and can be operated in manual mode using shift paddles behind the steering wheel.

MINIMALISM environmental technologies continue to feature on all MINI vehicles, and the new Hatch is no exception. Designed to reduce fuel consumption, the suite of standard features includes a shift-point display function on manual cars and optimised preheating process on the diesel. Brake energy recuperation and need-oriented control of the fuel pump, coolant pump and other ancillary units feature on all models.

Optimised suspension: less weight, even more fun to drive  

The suspension in the new MINI has been extensively revised. A new single-joint spring strut axle at the front and a multi-link axle at the rear intensify the MINI Hatch’s unique handling properties.

In order to reduce weight and increase component rigidity, the new front axle is fitted with aluminium swivel bearings as well as axle supports and wishbones made of high-strength steel. This supports the agile turn-in response and precise steering of the new MINI. At the rear, the share of high-strength steel used in the axle has been increased.

All improvements are aimed at intensifying the MINI’s handling responses, better known as that famous ‘go-kart’ feeling. Engineers have worked hard on the suspension to improve the acoustic refinement in the MINI’s cabin and eliminate vibrations from the road surface after chassis testing on UK roads.

Also new to the car is Variable Damper Control. Available as an option, it presents drivers with the choice of two distinct set-ups, a more comfort-oriented response or a more sporty and firm one.

The new MINI Cooper Hatch and MINI Cooper D Hatch ride on 15-inch forged light alloy wheels, which have low weight and excellent aerodynamics. The MINI Cooper S Hatch is fitted with 16-inch light alloy wheels as standard. Rims up to 18 inches in diameter are available as optional extras.

Highly resilient bearing structures, deformation zones and an extremely stable passenger cell are all part of the new MINI’s design. Together these provide an excellent basis for keeping impact energy away from passengers and ensuring maximum occupant protection. The standard safety fittings include front and side airbags as well as curtain airbags for the front and rear seats, automatic passenger airbag deactivation and front and rear ISOFIX. The aim is to achieve maximum scores on all the relevant crash tests worldwide.

High-end features for comfort, functionality and individual style  

The increased standard specification on the new MINI includes electrically adjustable exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, door sill cover strips with a model-specific inscription, front fog lamps, onboard computer, MINI Radio including aux-in, USB interface and Bluetooth. These can be supplemented with a range of desirable options for comfort, convenience, additional functionality and customisation. They include two-zone automatic air-conditioning, heated front seats, panoramic glass roof, visibility package including windscreen heating, rain sensor and automatic light control, a Harman Kardon hi-fi speaker system and a sports leather steering wheel. Other options include Park Distance Control, electrically heated and folding exterior mirrors, and both interior and exterior mirrors with automatic anti-dazzle function.


MINI Connected: more connected than ever

MINI Connected or MINI Connected XL is also available in conjunction with the MINI Visual Boost Radio and the MINI Navigation System. It offers extensive integration of smartphones inside the car, enabling the use of internet-based services in the areas of infotainment, communication and driver experience. This functionality is provided via a diverse and continually expanding number of apps which are downloaded to a connected smartphone.

MINI Connected XL includes the Journey Mate function for networked navigation, with Real Time Traffic Information.

In future, both the MINI Connected app and MINI Connected-ready apps supplied by third-party providers will be available not just for the Apple iPhone but also for smartphones using the Android operating system.

MINI Connected remains the access point for vehicle-related functions such as Mission Control, Dynamic Music, Driving Excitement and the MINIMALISM Analyser. MINI Connected is also the way into online-based services such as web radio, the use of social networks including Facebook, Twitter, foursquare and Glympse, receiving RSS news feeds and entertainment features such as AUPEO!, Stitcher, Deezer, Audible, Napster and TuneIn.

Another innovative feature is the permanently installed SIM card. This new option is a first in the premium compact car segment, and is used to establish phone connections required for the use of optional functions such as Emergency Call. In the event of an accident, this system automatically detects vehicle location, accident severity and contacts a call centre to initiate fast and effective assistance.

The SIM card also enables use of MINI Teleservices. This class-leading telematics feature provides automatic transmission of service-related vehicle data to a MINI Service Partner of the customer’s choice.

Driver assistance systems: new MINI, new technology

The new MINI Hatch signals the introduction of a range of technologies which are making their brand debut. They include the MINI Head-Up-Display which shows information relevant to the driver on an extendable monitor in the upper section of the dashboard. Also new is the Driving Assistant option, a camera-based cruise control and distance control function which automatically maintains a predetermined distance from the vehicle ahead. It includes a collision and pedestrian warning system with initial brake function, road sign detection and high-beam assistant. A rear view camera and parking assistant are also available for the new MINI for the first time.

In addition to ABS anti-lock brakes, electronic brake force distribution (EBD), cornering brake control (CBC) with brake assistant, the driving stability control system (DSC) in the new MINI includes a drive-off assistant, brake dry function, fading brake support and dynamic traction control (DTC). This latter system permits controlled slip at the drive wheels so as to facilitate driving off on loose sand or deep snow.

The new MINI Cooper S features a performance control system, which counteracts any tendency to understeer prior to reaching the threshold level, supporting an agile yet neutral driving response in corners.

MINI Driving Modes: a basis for fuel-efficient motoring

Another new innovation and brand debut is MINI Driving Modes, an optional extra on the new MINI Hatch. Using a rotary switch at the base of the gearstick or selector lever, drivers can swap from the default MID mode to either SPORT or GREEN. The three choices offer a set-up which is either performance-oriented, comfortable and well-balanced or geared towards fuel efficiency. The latter includes decoupling of the drivetrain – better known as ‘coasting’ – when the driver removes their foot from the accelerator pedal. MINI Driving Modes also influences the ambient lighting, shift characteristics of the automatic transmission and the Variable Damper Control if the option is selected.

Personalisation: more of what people love

MINI pioneered the concept of automotive personalisation and that spirit of individuality continues with the new Hatch. The list of interior and exterior customisable components, and the options for them, is extensive. Most popular are expected to be a John Cooper Works rear spoiler, various decorative trims for roof, exterior mirrors, bonnet, seat upholstery, interior surfaces and new Colour Lines.


The new MINI Cooper Hatch now starts at £15,300 OTR. This represents only a 2.61 per cent increase compared against the outgoing model and customers benefit from a host of additional equipment including adjustable exterior mirrors, air-conditioning, front fog lamps, onboard computer, MINI Radio including aux-in, USB interface and Bluetooth all as standard. The MINI Cooper D Hatch’s OTR price of £16,450 represents only a 1.64 per cent increase verses the outgoing model. Completing the range is the MINI Cooper S Hatch starting from £18,650.

Pricing   MINI Cooper Hatch MINI Cooper D Hatch MINI Cooper S Hatch
OTR cost £15,300 £16,450 £18,650

New MINI Hatch: coming soon  

The new MINI Hatch will be built in Britain at Plant Oxford, a state-of-the-art facility which celebrated 100 years of car production in Oxford during 2013. The car will launch in the UK and globally in Spring 2014.

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  • ce230d47-e795-45cf-941c-3c467264fa6e 2f5b75da-03bd-479a-ae17-078d4f74d776All-new vehicle platform, evolutionary design, new fuel-efficient engines, more driving fun
  • £750m investment in MINI UK production network

The new MINI has made its worldwide debut today (18 November) at MINI’s UK production plant in Oxford and features all-new vehicle architecture , an evolutionary design and a range of new fuel-efficient engines to give owners even more fun behind the wheel. A £750 million investment across three of BMW Group’s UK manufacturing facilities marks the launch of the new car with a new 1,000-robot body shop at Plant Oxford, the debut of new technologies at the steel body pressings operation in Swindon, and new machining and assembly facilities to produce a new generation of three and four-cylinder engines at the Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham.

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I was lucky enough to get an early preview of the new Mini – a classic British icon – during a visit to the factory in Oxford last month. This £750 million investment is great news for both the local and wider economy, along with the 5,500 workers whose jobs are safeguarded by this launch.

“Car manufacturing is a vital engine for growth. Production is back up to pre-recession levels and a car rolls off the line every 20 seconds in the UK. But we’re not complacent. Our industrial strategy is a key part of the Government’s economic plan and we’re helping to drive the car industry further and faster with over £4bn of investment.”

Harald Krueger, BMW Group’s board member for production, said: “In our Oxford plant’s centenary year, we are continuing the MINI brand success story and today starting production of the third model generation. Our total investment of £750 million in our British production locations of Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall between 2012 and 2015 underscores the importance of the MINI production triangle within our global production network. The UK is the heart of MINI production – thanks to the experience, competence and strong commitment of all our employees.”

The investment means additional job security for the 5,500 associates currently working in the UK MINI production network. Besides a new state-of-the-art body shop, the Oxford plant also benefits from upgrades to its paint shop, its final assembly area and from a series of initiatives reducing the operation’s carbon footprint and improving its waste management processes.  The introduction of the new MINI has also seen a significant investment in the most extensive workforce training programme undertaken at the plant.

Even though there’s instant recognition – something which comes from having such a globally identifiable design – the new MINI is completely new from the ground up in an effort to optimise its styling, function and performance. With its market launch in Spring 2014, the new car offers an enhanced standard specification, an extensive range of options to allow customers to adapt the car to their individual style, higher comfort levels, comprehensive safety technology including pedestrian protection and more innovative networking technology. Longer and wider than its predecessor, the new model provides more interior space for both the driver and passengers. Extensively revised suspension technology, reduced weight and increased rigidity have intensified the typical MINI go-kart feeling.

Commenting on the new model, Peter Schwarzenbauer, BMW Group’s board member for MINI, BMW Motorrad, Rolls-Royce, Aftersales BMW Group said: “MINI is an inspiration for trend-setters and creative spirits the world over. And with our latest generation of MINI Hatch, we want to excite once again. To ensure the new generation of MINI Hatch is as successful as its predecessors, we have made just subtle modifications to its design. But beneath the outer skin is a brand-new car with state-of-the-art technologies seen for the first time at a small car. ”




6b0f54c2-44d8-45fa-8222-98e1af10fdd9 3a26d797-a642-47f8-ac4f-a8eaf314b0c6 aeac0694-edca-425d-a642-6e18f60b80b2 5c36cd4b-0ea2-4494-b3cd-02858472c1a5 abd65469-19d0-4c0d-ad49-d2e22e62d2a3An all-new vehicle platform, a range of new technologies and a £750 million investment across three of BMW Group’s UK manufacturing facilities herald the launch of the new 2014 MINI. Substantial upgrades to Plant Oxford, where MINIs are assembled, and to Plant Swindon, where most of the MINI’s body pressings and sub-assemblies are manufactured, mark the start of an exciting new phase in the MINI’s development. The Hams Hall engine plant in Birmingham is also being re-equipped.

This latest MINI also debuts a vital and highly flexible new platform family within the BMW Group. A new approach to platform design increases the flexibility of the body manufacturing process, allowing more derivatives of greater conceptual variation to be produced more efficiently, an essential element of the MINI’s build-to-order appeal.

Further investment highlights include a new 1000-robot bodyshop at Plant Oxford and the debut of various new body-in-white technologies at Plant Swindon. The Hams Hall engine plant is also being freshly equipped for a new generation of modular power units that will be manufactured at several locations, the Birmingham plant supplying crankshafts to all these factories. These new engines, the new platform and a completely refreshed design have produced a completely new MINI.

Harald Krüger, member of the BMW Group Board of Management, said: “In our Oxford plant’s centenary year, we are continuing the MINI brand success story and today starting production of the new model generation. Our total investment of £750 million in our British production locations of Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall between 2012 and 2015 underscores the importance of the MINI production triangle within our global production network. The UK is the heart of MINI production – thanks to the experience, competence and strong commitment of all our employees.”

Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the BMW Group Board of Management, said: “The MINI brand represents the marriage of innovation and tradition. It is the inspiration for trendsetters and creative types all over the world. The aim of the new MINI generation is once again to rekindle enthusiasm for this car. That is why we are offering even more individual features, for example, to ensure that every new MINI is a statement of the owner’s personality.”

Plant Oxford, which celebrates 100 years of car-making in 2013, remains at the heart of the MINI manufacturing network, and receives the lion’s share of the £750 million investment. Besides a new state-of-the-art bodyshop, the plant also benefits from upgrades to its quality validation processes, to its paintshop and from a series of initiatives reducing the operation’s carbon footprint and improving its waste management processes.

Plant Swindon has also benefitted from investment that sees it debuting a trio of new body manufacturing technologies. It has also received facility improvements that will increase its productivity and help maintain its excellent showing among independent reviews of automotive manufacturing efficiency.

Plant Oxford

New Bodyshop

An army of no less than 1000 new robots will assemble the bodies of the new MINI in a brand new, purpose-built bodyshop at Plant Oxford. The factory’s body-in-white facilities now extend to 100,000m2. This impressive new body assembly facility accounts for a significant portion of the £750 million that BMW has invested in the third-generation new MINI, its robots not only ensuring that bodies are consistently assembled to an exceptional level of precision, but can also cater for the wide choice of models for which MINI has become famous.

To this end the robots are arranged around three-framing stages rather than the usual two, this body assembly method allowing a greater variety of body styles than was previously feasible. This flexible platform concept also utilises a higher number of smaller panels, than previously – 435, in the case of the new MINI hatchback – these requiring more spot-welds as a consequence. A typical MINI body shell now receives between 4000 and 6000 spot-welds, to produce a rigid and immensely strong base architecture that enables a wider variety of surrounding body panels to be attached with a particularly high degree of accuracy. This new platform concept is also more weight efficient. At certain stations no less than eight robots work on a single body simultaneously, operating on three different levels. The assembly accuracy of every single body is measured using Perceptron cameras that measure to an accuracy of 0.05mm, or half the width of a human hair. They measure the body across 502 datum points at five stations during the body-in-white assembly process.

The new bodyshop is also unusual for operating a single common finished process system. Whereas most bodyshops operate two identical lines in parallel, Plant Oxford’s bodyshop functions as a single line, everybody undergoing the same process at the hands of the same operators and machines. The advantage is more consistent quality and greater efficiency.

Besides the 1000 robots, BMW has also invested in 1000 grippers, these being the mechanisms that enable the robots to handle the tools and wide variety of body panels needed to assemble a very wide range of MINI derivatives. These ingeniously-designed bespoke handling mechanisms are often more expensive than the robots that deploy them. The robots operate using the latest programmed logic controllers and some of them have the ability to ‘see’, their intelligence allowing them to pick components from a part-empty box, for example. Less intelligent robots need to detect a full box of components before they can start their cycle.

Paint Shop

Plant Oxford was the first BMW Group plant to use the environmentally friendly Integrated Paint Process (IPP), which completely eliminates the primer coat application and oven stage to yield energy savings and a reduction in paintshop emissions of well over 10%. The shop now benefits from two additional quality-enhancing new developments. One involves further automation of the seam-sealing process, while the other sees the further robotisation of the application of a MINI’s top-coat. Both developments improve quality and reduce waste.

The new seam-sealing system sees welded joints in the car’s interior, engine bay, its roof and part of the tailgate aperture automatically protected against water-ingress with a flexible mastic material applied by a set of 12 robots. Besides reducing the risk of corrosion, this process also limits the passage of noise into the car. Automation ensures that the application of the mastic is performed to a consistently high quality and with less material waste.

Automation has also been introduced to the application of top-coat to the door, tailgate and bonnet apertures, ensuring a consistently high standard of finish, and less paint wastage. Productivity also improves with the introduction of the nine robots that perform these tasks. The energy efficiency of the paint shop has also been improved by the introduction of a new oven temperature control system requiring less gas.

The new MINI now features a double-skinned front bulkhead separating the engine bay from the passenger compartment. The double skin reduces the passage of noise into the cabin, its effectiveness significantly enhanced by the robot injection of foam into this void. Robots inject two chemicals that when mixed, combine to form a foam that rapidly expands into the available space to create dense, lightweight and highly effective sound-deadening structure that also strengthens the body.

Quality Management

There are over 3,600 components in a new MINI. There is considerable science behind ensuring that they fit together precisely right first time, and stay that way through the lifetime of the car. The science is performed by MINI Plant Oxford’s quality and engineering department, and also drawn upon by Plant Swindon.

The department uses some highly sophisticated measuring equipment that now includes a Geometric Optical Measurement Cell. The cameras of this cell can record an extraordinary eight million megapixel images, each of these pixels representing a datum point allowing a car – or a component – to be measured with exceptional accuracy. A series of these images can be knitted together with very high precision to produce a 3-D picture of the entire car and every area within it. Colour-imaging reveals the dimensional compliance of a MINI’s every element, from an entire panel to a single bolt. It provides an extremely accurate way of measuring a large volume and, among other things, is used for aligning the holes for fixings, ensuring the correct gaps between components and that parts follow the correct sculptural profile. The ultimate objective is to ensure that the car and its constituent parts comply with the original computer-aided design drawings, a process that’s fundamental to the accurate manufacture of a new car.

At the very heart of the quality and engineering centre lies the so-called Cube, an aluminium master buck that is a full-size replica of the new MINI. Built to a tolerance of just one fifth of a millimetre, this is the template for the body and everything attached to it, the buck itself attached to a thick, steel-plate floor that is absolutely horizontal for accuracy. Besides ensuring that the new MINI is born to millimetre-accuracy, the Cube is used to ensure that the car remains precisely manufactured throughout its life.


A substantial investment programme has produced significant improvements in the Plant Oxford assembly hall. There are now height-adjustable skillets on two production lines to ease the assembly process, while 44 automated guided vehicles (AGVs) carry pre-assembled cockpits to the track. There are six new robots in the glazing cell, two of them equipped with cameras allowing them to see and identify different derivatives, while the sunroof installation facility is now fully automated. Cameras are also used to ensure the accuracy of the process marrying the engine to the car.


The Swindon body pressings and sub-assembly plant benefits from upgrades that debut several new technologies, besides producing efficiency improvements.

Tactile laser welding is one of the new technologies, this technique used to weld together the eight different pressed parts that make up the complex bonnet panel that is such a distinctive feature of the MINI. This innovative technique involves the bending of the edge bonnet’s outer panel to the point where it touches the mating flange on the inner panel. The two are then joined using a fine weld wire on the laser that creates a continuous and solid joint. Under the previous system the panels were roller-hemmed together, and although this process was supplemented with adhesive and seam sealer to provide corrosion protection, there was always the possibility of a void forming that could allow rust-promoting condensation to develop. That risk is now eliminated.

Another innovation is the development of a remote laser that can produce long continuous joints of greater precision, a process that is also quicker than spot-welding and a first for the BMW Group.

Also new is a facility that enables up to five different door designs to be produced in the same production cell by the same set of robots using a new fixture-holding system. Assembling such a wide range of designs on the same hardware is complex, but it’s more efficient. A new linear change system for switching the tooling from one model to another has also increased efficiency.

Plant Swindon’s key press lines have been upgraded using a smart investment model that has produced a significant update following substantial investment. Some of these presses have been in the plant for many years with a life almost as long as the plant itself, but clever refurbishment is extending their term of service with no penalty in terms of quality, reliability or efficiency. This smart investment approach has contributed to Swindon’s excellent rating in influential analyses assessing global automotive production efficiency.

The plant has also met the challenge of designing tooling to suit the unique styling of the MINI, some of this iconic car’s detailing requiring clever tool engineering to allow its design to be realised. An example is the new tailgate, which has cut-outs in its sides to accommodate the new tail lamp style. Few owners will realise the how challenging this has been to achieve, but the result is impressively tight and consistent panel-fit.


BMW Group is currently operating no less than 730 programmes designed to reduce the carbon footprint and waste generated by all its manufacturing operations in the UK, some 279 of these deployed across the MINI Plant Oxford and Plant Swindon operations.

Particularly innovative is an ingenious new electro-coating facility. Electro-coat is the first protective layer of paint applied to the car’s panels using an electrically-charged dip to ensure that protective paint reaches every crevice within the body. The previous system featured a three-stage bath, this replaced by a 12-stage bath system that is able to apply precisely the right thickness of paint to each area of the body. Some zones are more vulnerable to corrosion than others, this new system also catering for the different shapes of each MINI body variant. The aim is to apply precisely the right amount of paint for each body style, yielding savings in both materials and energy whilst maintaining excellent corrosion protection.

Plant Oxford’s new bodyshop also makes a significant contribution to the factory’s environmental performance. The new building itself is very well insulated to reduce the cost of air conditioning, while the robots it houses now have an energy-saving sleep mode. So-called heat wheels in the building’s roof control the recirculation and admission of fresh air to reduce the amount of heating and cooling required. The bodyshop also employs water-harvesting to supply all the toilets, and each of its 3869 lights is individually programmable.

Controlling the flow of air through the paint shop with greater precision has yielded a 730 tonne saving in CO2 production thanks to reduced gas usage, and a 1130 tonne CO2 saving from reduced electricity consumption. And a programme to more carefully control the level of humidity in the paintshop – a certain level of humidity is essential to the painting process – has yielded a saving of 420 tonnes of CO2 annually. During 2013, the combined impact of 175 energy-saving initiatives at Plant Oxford and Plant Swindon will yield savings of almost 47.8GWh of energy savings of almost, which is roughly equivalent to the energy consumed by 2390 average UK homes in a year.

The 44 AGVs used in the assembly hall are powered by electric capacitors, which have three times the life of a conventional battery and are more energy efficient.


New investment and facilities are vital to a plant’s industrial competitiveness, but their potential cannot be realised without the ingenuity, commitment and flexibility of the people working there. Who have willingly adapted their working days to allow for the extensive remodelling of Plant Oxford, while at Plant Swindon the staff have pioneered new body engineering techniques to satisfy the design requirements for the new MINI. And both plants developed flexible new working methods that allow supply to better meet demand.

Education and training are also an essential part of BMW’s commitment to its workforce. Significant sums have recently been invested in ‘Performing Manufacturing Operations’ training. PMO training focuses on ensuring that associates work in a safe environment, can adhere to processes and standards and ultimately results in a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) level 2 qualification. This undertaking has produced the most extensive training programme Plant Oxford and Swindon have yet seen, to assist all production associates in their preparation to build the next new MINI.

Plant Oxford has also developed a new bespoke training facility, primarily for apprentice training. Opened in 2012, it enables the company to tailor the education of our apprentices, both academic and practical, to better match the needs of the business in the future. Apprentice training leads to an NVQ level three qualification and some apprentices will have the opportunity to progress right through to degree level.

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