9 Jul 2012

BMW pours £250m into the UK

Motor manufacturing, as well as motorsport, is a net exporter for UK plc.  In fact the export value of the industry is about £7bn, which is one eighth of all UK export.

So it is with some satisfaction that the Germans, those masters of all things automative, are pumping more cash into Britain's car industry.

BMW have today announced that they will be investing £250m in it's UK manufacturing operations.  This is on top of the £500m announced last June.

Despite Vince Cable being involved the MINI plants at Oxford, Birmingham and Swindon will benefit from the new investment.  BMW's total investment in MINI in the UK is now £1.75bn.  A massive show of confidence that British workers are amongst the best in the world at producing quality machines to the right budget - something Honda taught us how to do after the union-hit failures of our homegrown industry which finally died a death with the demise of Rover.

The activities of BMW Group adds £1.2bn to the UK economy each year.  They employ 18,000 people directly with a further 28,000 jobs supported as a result of their activities.

The MINI is a popular and successful car due to it's design and build quality but also because they have innovated and expanded into new areas - but all the while based around a single concept.  The Rocketman is one such concept.  MINI periodically release teasers of the model and create a sense of anticipation.  As such when they eventually release the Rocketman it is bound to be a success.  The same was true when the original BMW MINI was released back in 2000.

BMW learned their lesson in F1.  After some success with Williams they then bought Sauber and tried to run an F1 team from Switzerland.  They should have stayed in the UK.

Long live the British car industry.  But also long live the foreign investment capital in our car industry.