BMW provides a big boost for the UK automotive industry

1 min read

Good news for the UK car industry with the announcement by BMW that it will spend £600m to upgrade its factory in Oxford to electric production of the Mini.

This is a major U-turn by the company and the plant is expected to start production of the electric Mini Cooper and the new electric Mini Aceman crossover SUV.

Last year BMW said that it would be moving production of the electric version to China in what was seen as a major blow to car manufacturing in the UK, but the lifting of that threat is certainly to be celebrated.

The UK government is said to have agreed to spend £75m in subsidies to support the move, but no one in government has confirmed the exact amount involved.

It’s an important step by BMW at a time when manufacturers are increasingly shifting production to electric vehicles.

The move will secure 4,000 jobs at Oxford and Swindon, where BMW makes body panels.

BMW have been pretty open in that there were real doubts about the future of the plant, and that it took time to develop a business case that was right for it and the plant.

Just as importantly, BMW’s move is helping to brighten the outlook for Britain’s electric vehicle industry. Earlier this year there was real uncertainty with battery supplies and post-Brexit tariffs, as well as chip shortages hitting British factories hard.

This decision means that most of the UK’s high-volume car factories have confirmed a UK future in the electric car era, although there is still a question mark over the future of Toyota’s factory in Burnaston, which makes hybrid cars, beyond 2035.