The MINI Oxford Plant is the spiritual home of the brand since new MNI production started in 2001. We’ve visited the plan previously in 2004 and found it full of new energy and incredible automation. But a lot has changed since then and there are a lot more MINIs and we wanted to see this change ourselves. This video details how MINI not only produces cars but how it’s able to product ICE, EVs and a variety of body styles on the same production line.

When we last visited the plant in 2004 it was still ramping up various aspects of production. For instance the stamping that happened offsite back then is now in a separate facility on the plant grounds. There’s also a new level of automation – especially in that stamping plant. In fact it seems almost devoid of humans as we walked through a sea of busy robots twisting and turning metal and nearly complete chassis. 

The immediate take away in seeing this part of production is the precision throughout the process. BMW takes the structural design and build of its cars seriously as it had several high-profile issues in the late 90’s and early 2000s with sub-frames. Our guide explained the levels of engineering that goes into every weld and the safety checks that happen throughout the process. The result is a level of precision that wouldn’t seem out of place in an aerospace factory.

The Future Is Now

One of the most interesting aspects of Oxford’s current production line-up is the fact that the plan produces both ICE and electric MINIs side by side. This clearly foretells the future of the brand as MINI looks to aggressively move to become an all electric brand. 

Perhaps most interesting were the date codes I could clearly see on many components. Each component that BMW puts in their cars has a form of a date code that states the production date of the part and the range that the part is applicable in a vehicle. In other words you could clearly see when many of the core components for the current MINIs were scheduled to be end of life. That date was marked 2027 in many components were saw. Knowing that MINI will make versions some of these cars until 2030, that could coincide with a refresh of some parts or simply mean nothing as plans have changed since those parts were cast.

However knowing what we know about the current generation MINIs we would expect that that means we’ll see some for of redesign and/or final LCI for the petrol powered F56 range. It also lines-up well with the rumored introduction of the all new electric MINI at Oxford

MINI’s plans are to expand production of the next generation J01 electric MINI Cooper and J02 MINI Aceman to the Oxford Plant in 2027 which will require additional investment and reconfiguration. But clear this plant is ready. The current mix of vehicles and drivetrains that come out of a single production line is nothing short of incredible. And exactly the type of innovation that will be required in the years ahead.