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Mini confirms coupe production at Oxford plant

Green light: Mini Coupe is set to go into production in the UK.

BMW green-lights Mini coupe concept and sister model for production at British plant

Mini logo7 Sep 2009

By MARTON PETTENDY

NOT waiting even for the new Mini Coupe to be unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show next week, BMW has confirmed that the concept car will enter production in its plant in Oxford, England, alongside another new model that will also make its world premiere at the 63rd Internationale Automobil Ausstellung on September 15.

Details of the second model are still to be released, but, as GoAuto reported late last month when the coupe concept was revealed, a ‘Speedster’ roadster version is expected to be shown at Frankfurt and now looks certain to enter production alongside the coupe.

Expect production to commence late in 2011/12.

The contract to build the much-anticipated Mini crossover – expected to be called the Maxi – is understood to have been won by specialist coachbuilder Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, with the first vehicles rolling off the line late in 2010.

BMW AG chairman Norbert Reithofer confirmed the expanded British production plan last week on a visit to the Oxford plant, where the two new models will join the Cooper hatch, Clubman and Cabrio on the same line.

39 center imageTop: Mini Coupe. Below: Mini Crossover Concept.

The contract could see an additional 1000 jobs created at the plant, which was idled for a week earlier this year. BMW also cut 850 contract jobs at the plant in February after global sales for the Mini brand slumped 35 per cent the preceding month. It currently employs around 4000 workers.

The British government’s business secretary Peter Mandelson said: “The production of the two new Mini models is good news for Oxford, and for the UK car industry. It is a demonstration of BMW’s long-term commitment to the UK as it celebrates its 50th birthday this year.

“British drivers have had a long love affair with the Mini and I’m sure that this will continue for many years to come.” The plant’s managing director Juergen Hedrich said: “The fact that Plant Oxford will be building these exciting new models shows the high level of flexibility of the plant and its associates. The Mini family has a bright future.”

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