Mini to begin production at former Mitsubishi plant in second half of 2014
LOS ANGELES -- Production of new Mini models at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands will begin in the second half of 2014, a senior company executive said.
Harald Krueger, BMW AG's board member in charge of Mini, Rolls-Royce, motorcycles and aftersales, said that the company will decide in the coming months which models it will source from the former NedCar plant in Born, Netherlands.
The VDL Group, a Dutch industrial company focused on development, production and sales of finished or semifinished products, buses and coaches, will take over the former Mitsubishi plant next month and supply Mini under a contract manufacturing deal.
"It is the same type of agreement we have with Magna Steyr in Graz, Austria, which will continue producing for us the Countryman and Paceman models," Krueger told reporters on the sidelines of the Los Angeles Auto Show here.
Mini's main production center is in Oxford, England, where capacity has been increased to 250,000 units a year.
Krueger declined to elaborate on the installed capacity for Mini at the former NedCar plant, which will be renamed VDL NedCar starting in January, but gave a midterm hint to the British brand's potential.
"We aim [at] selling 2 million units of BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce models by 2016 and Mini currently accounts for about one of every six cars sold by the BMW Group," Krueger said.
That translates into about 333,000 Mini sales in 2016, up from a record of 285,000 units sold last year.
Through October, Mini has increased worldwide sales by 7 percent to 247,698 units, and Krueger is convinced this year could set another record.
Said Krueger: "In a volatile global market it is important to have balanced sales. Southern Europe is suffering now, but we increased Mini sales by 30 percent in China and 16 percent in the U.S. so far this year, so I am confident we could continue on our growth path."
You can reach Luca Ciferri at firstname.lastname@example.org.