MINI Begins Production in the Netherlands

The following report is from long-time MotoringFile contributor Berthil van Beek

A lot of effort was done to make the opening a real party for all involved and especially the factory employees who worked very hard the last one and a half year to convert this plant from a Mitsubishi plant to a MINI plant with equal quality standards as Oxford. It was special to see our king drive so close to all the employees when he made a tour after the official opening.

Under Mitsubishi 1,500 employees and about 600 robots were used. Today 2,200 employees and more than 1000 robots are producing MINI’s. BMW plans to produce 280.000 MINI’s next year and over a 100.000 should roll out the Born factory (statement by Dr.. Andreas Wendt, Director BMW Group Plant Regensburg).

The CEO of VDL emphasized the fact that the employees are trained by Japanese to be precise and efficient and were further trained by BMW to meet the BMW premium quality standards. A good combination of skills.


Official Release

The new MINI Hatch, which celebrated its production start at the BMW Group’s plant in Oxford in November 2013, will also be built at contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar in Born/Netherlands from now on. Dutch King Willem-Alexander attended an official function on the occasion of the reopening of the plant in Born, giving the ceremonial go-ahead for the MINI production at VDL Nedcar that let the first vehicle roll off the assembly line. Further guests included the German Ambassador, Franz Josef Kremp; the Netherland’s Secretary of Economic Affairs, Henk Kamp; the CEO of VDL Groep, Wim van der Leegte; Dr. Andreas Wendt, Director of BMW Group Plant Regensburg – the partner plant of VDL Nedcar in Born; and Dr. Johann Wieland, Head of Indirect Purchasing, BMW Group.

This move makes MINI the only automotive manufacturer that has series production vehicles built through a contract production in the Netherlands. The BMW Group stands to benefit from the favorable location of the VDL Nedcar site in terms of logistics and its proximity to the UK MINI production network with its locations in Oxford, Swindon and Hams Hall. At the same time, the BMW Group is stepping up its presence in the Netherlands significantly, making the region an integral part of the MINI success story.

A workforce of around 2,000 people will be responsible for building the new MINI from summer 2014. This year, the MINI production volume at VDL Nedcar is anticipated to already reach a five-digit range. The same demanding quality standards apply to MINI production in Oxford and Born. In order to ensure these quality standards, VDL Nedcar staff received in-depth training on the BMW Group production system at the BMW plants in Leipzig, Oxford and Regensburg. Global growth strategy – Expansion of production capacities.

As another important step in the implementation of the global growth strategy, the BMW Group is currently expanding its overall production capacity. As the MINI brand is showing substantial growth, the BMW Group needs additional, external production capacity on top of the capacity of the MINI plant in Oxford which stands at about 260,000 units per year in the medium term. Splitting production of the new MINI Hatch between Oxford and the contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar will give the BMW Group’s global production network with its 29 production sites in 14 countries on four continents greater flexibility for other models. At the same time, the UK production triangle is and will remain the heart of MINI production. “Contract production is a vital flexibility tool for us, and our experience gathered over the past ten years has been nothing but positive. Splitting production of the new MINI Hatch between Oxford and Born will give our global production network additional leeway,” stated Dr. Andreas Wendt, Director of the BMW Group’s Regensburg plant, the partner plant of VDL Nedcar in Born. “We appreciate the reliable, open and trustful cooperation with our Dutch partner. VDL Nedcar has many years of experience in producing high quality vehicles.” In 2013, the BMW Group produced a total of 303,177 MINI vehicles. Plant Oxford produced 175,986 MINI Hatch, Convertible, Clubman, Clubvan, Roadster and Coupé models. An additional 125,559 MINI Countryman and MINI Paceman models were built by the contract manufacturer MSF in Graz/Austria, plus additional 1,632 units in other plants. Since the relaunch of the brand in 2001 until the end of 2013, nearly 2.8 million MINI vehicles have been produced.

  • A small country called The Netherlands just got big in producing MINI’s.

  • tobi

    does that mean that we will get our mini faster? 😀

  • Nick Dawson

    The biggest problem facing BMW with the new F-Series MINIs will be to produce them fast enough to meet global demand. The opening of a second production facility in the Netherlands is well timed and well judged, both from the point of view of logistics and European currency fluctuations.

    On the other hand, according to Glass’s Guide, the UK motor trade monthly guide to used car values, the slowest selling used car in the UK is the MINI Paceman, which takes 89.7 days on average to shift. The fastest selling used car in the UK is the Range Rover Evoque, which takes 26.9 days on average to shift.

  • cone_assassin

    So what will be the VIN designation for MINIs produced in NL?

  • R.O

    Better in the Netherlands than in Mexico.

    • Herr26

      A MINI whether built in the UK , Netherlands or even Mexico is still a MINI. They are all manufactured to the same methods developed by BMWs production development team and quality management in Munich , Germany.

      The same goes for the 3er. Whether it is built in Munich , South Africa , India or China amongst other countries It is still a 3er.

  • Herr26

    Its a satellite site not only for overflow on MINI but expected overflow on BMWs upcoming UKL models. But expect this plant to take full global responsibility for next MINI Countryman and PACEMAN.

  • Geepers

    As if their third placing in the FIFA World Cup was not enough, the Dutchies are now showing England how to make their own car! What next? Louis Van Goal, oops Gaal, to coach Manchester United?

    p.s. In England they pass the Dutchie on the left hand side!

    • Nick Dawson

      This is not about the Dutch showing England how to build MINIs. When BMW decided to relaunch the Mini brand under MINI, it never expected it to be such a phenomenal global SUCCESS, and the maximum annual production capacity of 260,000 at Plant Oxford was considered more than adequate at the time.

      Now, BMW expects to be building at least 400,000 MINIs a year once all the new F-Series MINIs come on stream, and when the current contract finishes with Magna Styer in Graz, Austria to build the Countryman and Paceman, no more MINIs will be built there, and a new BMW model will take its place.

      NedCar in Born not only has access to a large port, it is also geographically closer to Oxford, whereas Graz in Austria is closer to Munich. Producing OVERFLOW in MINI in Born, and BMWs in Graz, makes logistical sense. NedCar also has flexible labour contracts, and should demand for MINIs rise or fall, it can increase or reduce MINI production accordingly without penalty, thus keeping Plant Oxford fully operational at all times.

  • Martin

    Last week, all at MINI Plant Oxford were given a celebratory cup cake and a copy of Auto Express for the MINI being named Car of the Year 2014, and some jelly beans and a key ring to celebrate the launch of F55. The Plant’s aim is Mission 1000, which is to built 1000 MINIs per day equating to 5000 per week as currently they are no weekend shifts. They have three shifts a day but each shift has decided to aim to built 334 MINIs and some shifts have already exceeded this. The Plant were due to break the 1000 MINI a day aim last Thursday, but during the storms they took a direct lightening strike which took which caused a power outage, so they missed it on that day. Mission 1000 is quite a task with these new models, but great news for MINI as they only build to order, and their order books are strong. It’s also good for the country’s trade deficit as 80% of production is exported, the USA being their largest market.

    • Geepers

      collective bonuses to workers for total effort? Are cup cakes and jelly beans the new Peanuts?