By Linda Hall • 13 September 2023 • 14:00
COWLEY PLANT: Chosen to produced electric Minis
Photo credit: CC/Lobster 1
BMW confirmed plans to retool its Cowley factory with a £600 million (€697.2 million) upgrade to build electric Minis.
This takes investment in British electric vehicle (EV) production to £6 billion (€6.97 billion) in recent years. The BMW sum is reportedly backed by £75 million (€87.15 million) in UK government funding, the BBC revealed.
The plant will build an electric version of the three-door Mini Cooper and the new Aceman SUV, with 100 per cent production expected by 2030. A third EV, the Countryman, will be made in Germany.
The first electric Mini was launched at the Cowley plant in 2019 and this is now Britain’s sixth bestselling EV with 7,400 registered in the UK in 2022 after Tesla, Kia and Volkswagen models.
The Cowley upgrade, which includes extending the Cowley body shop and building a new area for installing batteries, not only ensures the future of the plant, but also that of another BMW-owned factory in Swindon. It also safeguards the jobs of roughly 4,000 people employed at both plants.
The BMW announcement came shortly after Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, began electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing at Ellesmere port, following a £100 million (€116.2 million) cash injection.
“This is a vote of confidence in the country’s automotive manufacturing industry,” declared Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
“Not only does it secure the long-term future of the home of one of the world’s most iconic brands, it also demonstrates once again our capabilities in electric vehicle production.”
When questioned about claims that the amount of government funding for BMW linked to its Oxford plant was around £75 million, Britain’s Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, declined to comment.
“I won’t comment on the figure because that creates difficulties in future negotiations,” Badenoch told reporters.
“What I will say is that we do provide some subsidy, very light subsidy, in the auto industry because it faces so much difficulty, and some of that is regulatory,” she added.
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Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share?
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