MINI Stars in "The Italian Job"
MINI, the 2003 North American Car of the Year, will join a stellar cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland, in Paramount Pictures’ film, “The Italian Job,” opening nationwide May 30th.
BMW Oxford Plant : The MINI Plant
The new MINI is being manufactured on one of the world's most modern and advanced production systems at the BMW Group plant at Oxford - the result of a £230 million investment programme at the factory.
The Oxford factory - which at fully installed capacity will produce around 100,000 MINIS a year - has been transformed in two stages into a state of the art manufacturing facility. The plant employs 2,500 associates who are breaking new ground in the UK automotive industry with a far-reaching flexible working agreement. Shift patterns allow for seven days a week working, if required. For a second shift 1800 additional temporary workers are being hired.
The foundation for the plant's transformation was set with an initial investment programme in the mid 1990s of £280 million to create a new paint shop, body-building facility and assembly areas. In the past year a further £230 million has been spent on the MINI production. The car assembly line is Europe's brightest and most operator-friendly.
The new MINI has been enthusiastically welcomed at motor show previews around the world and goes on sale on July 7. It will initially be available as MINI ONE and MINI COOPER models.
In the body in white process
the most rigid bodyshell in its class - nearly three times stiffer than
competing models - is created with high strength steels and total automation.
The bodyshell is designed to give the MINI its highly distinctive look
and serves as a platform for outstanding refinement, performance and
The paint plant uses an eight stage environmentally-advanced process of protection and waterbased colour coat, with the famous contrasting roof colours of the MINI COOPER in white or black.
In the final assembly area traditional production lines have been replaced with a light and airy environment and wooden skillets which carry both the car and associates during assembly work.
Much emphasis is put on ergonomics, in the final assembly the car is raised, lowered and turned through 90 degrees to give easy operator access and outstanding working conditions. The factory runs on a computerised KISS information and quality system, eliminating the traditional paperwork associated with car production. Noisy compressed air tools have been replaced with quieter and more accurate all electric tools.
Just in Time supply techniques are used to manage the flow of parts from the 200 MINI suppliers - of which half are based in the UK.
The Oxford plant is fully integrated into the world-wide BMW Group production network and is the only plant producing the MINI, which will be sold around the world through special MINI locations associated with BMW dealers.
Initial production is likely to be 30,000 MINIS during 2001 rising towards 100,000 in the following year, with extra jobs being created at Oxford to meet anticipated demand.
(July 10, 2001)
photos: Automotive Intelligence