Today marks 15 years since the start of production of the new MINI, which has become a brand with its own identity after passing from model to model a complete range of cars cut off by a common pattern: they are original, fun to drive, and very customizable.
But before we go further, we have to take a leap back in time. In 1994, BMW acquired Rover Group, formerly in the hands of British Aerospace. The germans are not slow in beginning to develop a replacement modern classic MINI, and the redesign begins a year later. At the end of six years, the part of Rover was sold, and BMW is stuck with MINI.
After the break with Rover Group, which was sold for a symbolic sum of 10 pounds, BMW turned upside down the factory in Cowley to give rise to Plant Oxford, in a process that lasted 13 months. There they’ll build the new MINI in the future. It was the original site where it was manufactured the first generation, the Morris Mini-Minor.
A good day like today, 15 years ago, we made these MINI
The first unit was a MINI Cooper in Red Chili, with a line of contrasting white and mirror white. The MINI was one of the first cars on the market that allowed high levels of customization, beyond the color of the bodywork. The vinyls and the parts colored made it more difficult to see in the street two MINI equal.
Was very small, only 3,63 meters long, 1,69 m wide and 1.42 meters high. The first generation had engine Tritec, jointly developed with Chrysler, and subsequently adopted the 1.4 D (1ND-TV) source Toyota to the versions diesel. The Tritec were used until 2007, then the technological partner was PSA Peugeot Citroën.
BMW, the MINI was a complete change of philosophy: engine transverse, front-wheel drive and body very small. Today BMW and MINI share a lot, in fact, there are models of the main brand using the same platform as the MINI, and that was unthinkable 15 years ago. The same about a BMW front-wheel-drive.
MINI first generation
Oxford has already produced 2.5 million MINI, almost half of the volume of production of the classic model for several decades. From the very beginning MINI was a product of success, in less than a year they had to invest 100 million pounds to increase the production by 20%, and thus comply with the demand. Of 2,400 employees, has passed 4,500.
Since 2006, MINI has at its disposal three production facilities in the same area
Oxford Plant builds the chassis, paint the car, and performed the final assembly. The plates pressings come from Swindon, where Honda also has a factory. The engines come from Hams Hall. Since the year 2000 we talk about 1,750 million pounds in investment.
The first generation had only two variants of bodywork, MINI Hatch and MINI Convertible. As of 2006, the second generation, did not stop to get variants: Clubman (2007), Countryman (2010), Coupe (2011), Roadster (2012)… The Countryman does not occur in the Uk, Magna Steyr does for BMW.
MINI third generation
In the third generation, the range of models has been reduced to cater to the larger trends of the market, and paying less attention to the niches. we Already have the three-door, five-door and Clubman. It has grown in all senses, as customers demanded more space, and has become something more general.
The MINI can be First, One, Cooper, Cooper S and John Cooper Works. Each model of MINI is a nod to its history. . In the end, the classic MINI is the british car more known in the world, and the most sold of the whole of the british industry of the car. In the 50’s, when it began to sell, was a revolution for the excellent utilization of the space.
today, MINI is manufactured in several factories of the world, but Plant Oxford continues to be the main site. It is a pride for the british, and a case study of good business decision by BMW. The utility Premium they began in a certain way with MINI.