On Monday this week, BMW – alongside the government – announced plans to invest £600 million to prepare its Mini factory in Cowley, to build the next generation of electric vehicles.
This huge investment will not only be a source of job creation in Oxfordshire but, will vitally, secure the roles of over 4,000 workers and the long-term future of this iconic, historical plant.
This continues an ongoing colleration between investment in Oxfordshire and job security; during 2022-23 alone, central data from the Department for Business and Trade indicated that over 1,200 jobs were created across the county through foreign direct investment into Oxfordshire.
The news also further illustrates the international renown of Oxfordshire-based industry and crucially, its potential to gain international investment.
OxLEP's work with the Department for Business and Trade has historically supported Oxfordshire’s internationalisation desires, securing hundreds of millions of pounds into our economy, including significant investment in the automotive industry and other key sectors including life sciences, space and tourism.
The environmental nature of the project is cause for further optimism with the Cowley plant now set to build the next generation of Mini Cooper and Mini Aceman cars, both electric.
It is excellent to see that a globally-significant project, supporting our local and national net-zero ambitions, will be anchored within the Oxfordshire economy.
The growth of Mini, a significant employer, also signals future opportunity for young people in Oxfordshire, notably the possibility of new apprenticeship openings within the organisation. This will provide crucial skills and training in the automotive sector, presenting opportunity for a key proportion of the local workforce in coming years.
As well as looking to the future, this move by BMW also extends the legacy of an important part of Oxfordshire’s past. Minis have been manufactured in the county for over 100 years and it is significant this heritage has been secured for the future.
It was encouraging to also hear Stefanie Wurst, Head of the Mini brand, highlight how Oxford remains at the heart of the brand.
Wider reaction to this news has noted how it displays confidence in the county and that it remains an attractive place for economic investment. However, more crucially, it shows further evidence of the strength of Oxfordshire’s economy, our key sectors and how critical they are to the national economy.
As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, we will continue to champion our key sectors, showcasing them to national and international audiences, to support interest and investment into Oxfordshire, working with central government, our local authorities, universities and research institutes and our business partners.