BMW says it aims to focus Mini-brand production at UK and Dutch sites
FRANKFURT -- BMW said it will increase Mini's model lineup to up to 10 body styles while boosting the brand's production capacity in the UK and at a new contract manufacturing site, likely to be in the Netherlands.
BMW will invest 250 million pounds ($388 million) in its UK manufacturing operations by the end of 2015 to support its growth strategy for the Mini brand, the company said on Monday.
Harald Krueger, BMW's board member with responsibility for Mini, said the automaker's plans for Mini focus on two production locations for the brand in the UK and in the Netherlands.
BMW last month said it is considering building vehicles at Mitsubishi's NedCar plant in the Netherlands where the Japanese automaker is ending production at the end of the year.
On Monday, Krueger said BMW's preferred option to expand Mini is to establish a contract manufacturer as a satellite production as close as possible to Mini's UK operations. Nedcar's proximity to the UK would offer significant benefits in terms of logistics, Krueger said in a statement.
He said BMW will continue its cooperation with the contract manufacturer Magna Steyr. Magna Steyr builds the Mini Countryman in Graz, Austria.
Mini's global sales volume increased 7 percent to 151,875 in the first half, helped by demand for the new Countryman and growth in the United States and China.
BMW's latest UK investment will be at Mini's production plant in Oxford, BMW's steel body pressings operation at Swindon and at the company's engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham.
Mini has been a big success story for BMW ever since it revived the brand in 2001, growing sales volumes by 21 percent to more than 285,000 cars last year.
The Mini range currently includes the standard bodystyle, the Clubman wagon, Countryman offroader, Coupe, Convertible, Roadster and Clubvan transporter. The Mini Paceman, which blends characteristics of an SUV with that of a coupe, will be the brand's eighth variety.
Reuters contributed to this report
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