By now this if very old news. But for the sake of making it completely and utterly official here’s BMW’s press release on the topic of the MINI plant expansion at Oxford (via MINIUSA press):

The BMW Group will be investing over $188 million USD in the Oxford plant between now and 2007 and will be creating around 200 new jobs in MINI production. Most of this investment will be in the further optimization of the plant?s production capacities, mainly in a new body shell production building and in further modernization of the paint shop.

By laying the foundation stone for the body shell production building, which will cover about 15,000 m2 (or about 161,500 square feet), Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Member of the Board, Production, at BMW AG, today signalled the start of preparation for MINI production to meet the future requirements of the brand and the market. “These measures will allow us to react even more flexibly to the high demand for MINI throughout the world. At the same time, we are increasing our flexibility with regards to the production of various MINI model variants”, said Reithofer.

Since its market launch in 2001, production figures for the MINI, originally planned at around 100,000 MINI vehicles per year, reached a record level of 189,492 in 2004. The total number of employees has risen to 4,500 to date.

The growth in recent years has been based on continuous efficiency through improvements in the production process and innovative working time models. With company operating times being separated from the employees’ personal working times, the Oxford plant has been able to run production for up to 134 hours a week, depending on levels of demand.

Since 2000, the BMW Group has invested a total of just over $527 million USD in the production of MINI vehicles in Oxford until today.