BMW in £250m boost to UK factories

BMW is to invest a further £250 million in its three Mini factories in the UK, safeguarding thousands of jobs, the firm has announced.

The money will be invested in manufacturing operations by the end of 2015 at the German car maker's plant in Oxford, steel body pressings operation at Swindon and engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham.

The company also announced further volume growth with up to 10 different Mini models, with the potential for additional production capacity at Oxford.

The news comes on top of an announcement a year ago of £500 million investment and means additional job security for the 5,500 UK Mini workers, said BMW.

Harald Krueger, Member of the Board of Management at BMW Group, said: "A year ago we announced a further investment of £500 million in our UK production network by 2014 and today we are announcing an additional £250 million, taking us through to 2015. This brings the total to £1.75 billion since 2000.

"Over the last 11 years, Mini has been a unique global success and the BMW Group has even greater plans for the future development of the brand. Plant Oxford has played a major role in this with cars being exported to over 100 countries around the world. "This additional investment is great news for all our employees in the UK and shows the BMW Group's commitment to Britain as a vital manufacturing base for us."

Business Secretary Vince Cable, who is visiting the Oxford factory, said: "BMW's ambitious plans for Mini will ensure its UK sites at Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall remain at the centre of Mini production worldwide. The investment of £250 million in addition to the £500 million last year demonstrates BMW's commitment to the UK and safeguards jobs for the future."

Unite assistant general secretary Tony Burke said: "This major boost in investment is tribute and reward for the dedicated and hard-working workforce at Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall.

"The British car industry is once again a ray of sunshine in gloomy times for British manufacturing. The Government urgently needs to learn the lessons that the UK car industry has to teach and start supporting the wider manufacturing sector."

Prime Minister David Cameron said: "I am delighted that BMW has chosen to make such a significant investment in the UK. This demonstrates confidence in British manufacturing, provides a fantastic boost for the workforce, and shows we are making real progress in rebalancing the economy."