The F55 five door begins its journey to showrooms today with the first production vehicle rolling off the assembly line in Oxford. The first cars should hit UK and European showrooms in about a month’s time with US dealers seeing their first F55 later in the year.
Full release and gallery after the break.
Official Release:The new 5-door is a first for MINI production at the Oxford plant and marks another phase in the roll-out of a £750 million investment programme across BMW Group UK’s production facilities from 2011 to 2015.
The car comes hot on the heels of the new MINI Hatch, which was launched in November. The new 5-door, which will go on sale in the autumn, is an exciting addition to the family of MINIs made in Oxford and opens up a whole new market segment.
Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “The launch of the all-new 5-door MINI is a further boost for the UK’s manufacturing sector, and will help to secure jobs in Oxford and Swindon as part of BMW’s £750 million investment programme in the UK. BMW’s continued commitment and investment in the UK underlines the continuing success story that is UK automotive manufacturing.
“Through the UK Government’s industrial strategy we are backing the auto sector as it goes from strength to strength. We are providing the right environment to give businesses the confidence to invest and create high skilled jobs.”
The 5-door is the second member of the MINI family to be built on a new platform. The innovative approach to design increases the flexibility of the body manufacturing process, allowing more models of greater variation to be produced more efficiently, an essential element of the MINI’s build-to-order appeal.
Frank Bachmann, managing director of MINI Plants Oxford and Swindon, said: “This is an exciting day for us with the first ever 5-door MINI for the plant, which opens up a whole new market segment for the brand.
“BMW Group has invested in creating state-of-the-art technology and facilities at Oxford and Swindon for the launch of this new generation of MINI, demonstrating the company’s commitment to a long-term future for its UK production sites.”
Preparations for the new generation of MINI have seen the building of a new bodyshop at Oxford and significant investment in facilities and technologies at Plant Swindon, where the car’s body panels are pressed and a number of sub-assemblies made. Plant Oxford’s assembly employees also went through a programme of training to support the launch of the new model generation.
The new 5-door Hatch Key statistics
– Measures 4m in length
– 161mm longer than the three-door
– 278 litres of boot space
– 15mm more headroom
– 61mm extra interior width
– Three rear seats
Production updates for the introduction of the new 5-door Hatch:
– Additional tooling for the body sides at Plant Oxford’s new bodyshop
– New equipment in the wax sealing line in the plant’s paintshop to accommodate the extra door and differences in the shaping of the rear of the car
– New paint colours, including the return of “Electric Blue”
– New rear door cells in the sub-assembly line at Plant Swindon
– New roof and panel tooling in Swindon’s press shop