BMW invests in an electric Oxford

BMW has decided to invest in its Cowley plant in Oxford as it attempts to electrify the brand.

The company had debated moving production to China, but the recent destabilisation of relations has made the company place hundreds of millions into the Mini’s hometown. As a result, the production of two new electric Mini models will begin in the UK in 2026. Models are still expected to be built in China and Germay, but BMW could be seen to be spreading the risk now.

Although exact figures are difficult, it is likely that /BMW will invest more than half a billion updating the Cowley plant, with new production lines, body shop and battery facilities.

The investment is being backed by the Government's Automotive Transformation Fund. Government subsidy is now commonplace worldwide, with JLR receiving funding for a gigafactory and Tesla receiving huge amounts from the German government. Countries all see the vital importance of keeping battery related industries and battery production locally, and as such are prepared to invest. In this the UK is hardly unique but has established a higher footprint of ‘gigafactories’ than European rivals.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “BMW’s investment is another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future.”

Alongside BMW and JLR, Stellantis has also just begun production of electric vans at its Ellesmere Port factory, Nissan is expanding its output of EVs and partnering in a gigafactory, and Ford is has invested in its Halewood plant in readiness for EV production.

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