BMW pledges £250m more investment in UK plants
By Michael Northcott Monday, 09 July 2012
Start your engines: the Mini manufacturer has confirmed plans to invest in all three of its UK factories, safeguarding 5,500 jobs.
Against a backdrop of struggling UK manufacturing and the dreaded double-dip recession, BMW has nonetheless pledged £250m of investment in its Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall plants, topping up the £500m investment it announced last year. It has big plans for increasing the popularity of the Mini, and will be using the investment to start expanding sales overseas. Despite all those economic woes just over the Channel, they’re certainly not putting the brakes on just yet…
It also seems that BMW is keen to make the UK locations even more essential to its Mini operation – the Oxford plant, for example, is set to provide ‘production expertise for any new operation’, according to a statement from the company. Entrenching the UK plants as hubs where all the best expertise is based will mean BMW will find it harder to ditch the UK in future: good news for British manufacturing workers. Taking BMW’s commitment up a gear, board member Harald Krueger described how ‘just as Munich is the centre of the BMW world, Oxford is and will remain the home and the heart of Mini.’
BMW engineers will be scratching their heads this morning, however, after it was revealed that car thieves have found a clever way of using gadgetry to quietly make off with your Beemer. They connect a device to the vehicle’s diagnostic system and can use it to re-programme a blank electronic key that will work straightaway in the car. This means they can smash the window, make the new key and then disable the alarm in a matter of seconds. Better lock away those convertibles, people.
Still, with the new investment in BMW’s factories comes a range of about 10 new models, so perhaps we can look forward to a more complex central locking system, too…