The all-electric MINI will be built in Oxford, BMW has announced.
The German carmaker said from 2019 a fully electric “Mini E” will roll off the production lines at its Cowley plant which is the historic home of the iconic car.
The news guarantees the future of the 4,500 staff at the plant, who currently build the majority of the 360,000 Minis produced annually.
There had been speculation for some time surrounding the future of the MINI build. BMW’s factory in the Netherlands or a new plant in Germany were both suggested as possible options.
However, industry sources say there was little doubt BMW would ever pick anywhere but Oxford, having invested £500m in the over the past five years.
The finaldecision to build the Mini E in the UK was made by the BMW’s main board, with a company spokesman describing it as a “multi-faceted decision involving many factors, including the large scale Mini production at Oxford".
UK Business Secretary Greg Clark hailed BMW's announcement as a "vote of confidence" in government plans to make Britain "the go-to place in the world for the next generation of vehicles". Earlier this week, he set out plans to invest in development of battery technology in the UK.
Professor David Bailey, a car industry expert at Aston University, said “It was highly unlikely BMW would go elsewhere as an electric Mini does not need a separate production line"
According to the Telegraph a source close to BMW’s thinking added: “The Oxford decision has no impact on future investment decisions which will be taken according to EU and trading conditions at the time – this is just the next step in BMW’s electrification strategy.”
The electric Mini is expected to be a huge seller for BMW and the company expects that, by 2025, between 15pc and 25pc of the cars it sells each year will be electrically powered. Last year buyers were handed the keys to 2.367m new cars from the BMW stable.