First MINI “made in Germany”: One production line, two brands, three drives.
Leipzig. The production launch of the MINI Countryman marks a number of debuts and milestones: as the first MINI model to be made in Germany, the new MINI Countryman will roll off one and the same manufacturing line as the BMW 1 Series and 2 Series. Thanks to its flexible assembly structures, Plant Leipzig is in a position to produce two brands with three different drives – combustion, plug-in-hybrid and fully electric – all on the same production line.
Big Love is the motto of not just the MINI brand but also of the plant: Leipzig loves MINI and MINI loves Leipzig. Celebrating the production launch of the MINI Countryman today at a special event in the assembly hall were the BMW AG Board Member for Production, Milan Nedeljković; the Minister President of the state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer; the head of the MINI brand, Stefanie Wurst; Mayor and Alderman for Business, Work and Digital Affairs, Clemens Schülke; various guests from politics and the media, and plant employees. To make sure everyone in the plant could experience the live broadcast of the celebration, the production lines stood still for almost 45 minutes.
Production of the largest MINI model to date marks an important step into the future of BMW Group Plant Leipzig. Since 2018 the company has invested some €700 million in the Saxony site to increase capacity and enable production of the MINI Countryman. In addition, this third generation of the vehicle will also be available with a fully electric drive. “Leipzig remains electrified,” said Plant Director Petra Peterhänsel.
“When it comes to the transformation,” Nedeljković emphasised, “skill and flexibility are crucial.” He added that the BMW Group had been quick to introduce and advance change: “Plant Leipzig plays a fundamental role in this regard. It was here that we launched production of the BMW i3 exactly ten years ago. We have since built on that, rolling the latest generation of electric cars out across our network.”
Nedeljković explained that all BMW Group plants are set up to produce different models with different drives – from combustion-powered to plug-in hybrid and fully electric – all on a single production line. But what’s special about Plant Leipzig, he added, is that its flexible production system is now being used for multiple brands for the very first time.
Plant Director Petra Peterhänsel emphasised the importance of the MINI Countryman for the future of Plant Leipzig: “Today is a historical day for our site. As the plant develops and production of the MINI Countryman gets underway, our headcount will increase by over 1,000 by the end of 2024.”
Hosting the event was the radio and television presenter Roman Knoblauch. But in addition to the MINI Countryman in Smokey Green with a contrast roof in Energy Silver, there was a secret star of the show: Spike, MINI’s digital friend. As the Intelligent Personal Assistant, Spike will support drivers of the new MINI model family and make the cars even more fun to use.
Find all information about the new BMW MINI Family here