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Motoring

10 millionth MINI built as brand celebrates 60th year

To celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary, MINI has been on the hunt for 60 owners of 60 cars, one from each year of production - with 60 personal stories from across the decades.

As MINI continues to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the brand reached a new milestone when the ten millionth MINI produced globally since 1959 rolled off the assembly line.

The landmark car – a MINI 60 Years Anniversary Edition – was built on July 24 2019 at MINI Plant Oxford.

A special event was held to mark the occasion. to celebrate the brand’s 60th anniversary, MINI has been on the hunt for 60 owners of 60 cars, one from each year of production – with 60 personal stories from across the decades. Shared across the MINI digital channels throughout the year, the stories from owners around the UK shows the love they have for their cars and the important part they have played in so many people’s lives.

Last week, MINI brought these cars together at Plant Oxford for a special birthday gathering, before heading to the International MINI Meeting in Bristol, an annual festival for MINI fans globally. The cars will be led by 621 AOK – the very first Mini built – with the 10 millionth MINI bringing up the rear.

Fuel shortages caused by the Suez crisis, and the popularity of the German ‘bubble car’ led British Motor Company (BMC) president Leonard Lord to ask Alec Issigonis to design a safer vehicle that could be built in Britain. It was to be no more than 10ft long and should devote an unprecedented 80 per cent of its footprint to passenger and luggage space.

Issigonis, born in 1906, was a talented engineer and designer who worked for Humber, Austin and, from 1936, Morris Motors Ltd. There he worked on a number of cars, including the Morris Minor.

In 1955 he was recruited by the British Motor Corporation to design a family of new models. Launched in 1959 as the Morris Mini Minor and the Austin Seven (it wasn’t until 1961 that it was renamed the Austin Mini) the classic Mini revolutionised the automotive world and was produced at Oxford until 1968, before moving to Longbridge, near Birmingham, where it continued to be built until October 2000.

Between 1959 and 2000 more than 5.3 million classic Minis were built, and although there were several changes of name, engine and body styles, the fundamentals of the car’s character and layout were much the same, and the last model to roll off the production line in 2000 didn’t look very different from the original 1959 version.

Since the brand’s rebirth in 2001 under BMW ownership, sales around the world have gone from strength to strength. Last year nearly 400,000 MINIs were sold in 110 countries across the globe.

Three UK plants have a part to play in MINI production today – Hams Hall near Birmingham makes engines, Swindon produces the body pressings and sub-assemblies, and this all comes together at the Oxford manufacturing plant with body shell production, paint and final assembly.

Daily output at Oxford has grown from around 300 cars a day in 2001 to around 1,000 today. The 4,500 strong workforce at Oxford produce one new MINI every 67 seconds.

Since 2000, over £2 billion has been invested by BMW Group in its UK manufacturing sites and at Oxford this has included an extension to the plant’s body shop and new facilities in the paint shop and final assembly areas. In November this year the MINI Electric will begin production at Oxford and “mark the beginning of a new era for the brand”.

Peter Weber, managing director, MINI Plant Oxford and Swindon, said: “As we celebrate 60 years of our iconic brand and look towards an electric future, I would like to thank everyone who has made MINI such a global success, from my team here to the loyal customers and fans around the world.

“To see the 10 millionth MINI roll of the production line here at Oxford was a moment of great pride for the whole team, a number of whom have relatives who were here building the very first Minis in 1959. This is a wonderful chapter in the MINI story and proof of the passion that our customers have for this very special British car.

“Just as Alec Issigonis’ first car did in 1959, MINI has continued to push the boundaries, whilst keeping creative use of space, driving fun, style and individualisation at its core”.

Models built at Oxford today include the three and five-door MINI Hatch and MINI Clubman, and around 80 per cent of MINIs built in Oxford are exported. The Convertible and Countryman models are built in The Netherlands.

The BMW Group production network comprises 30 production and assembly facilities in 14 countries; the company has a global sales network in more than 140 countries.

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