OXFORD, England -- BMW's long-underutilized Hams Hall engine plant here is beginning to realize its potential as BMW's global center for four-cylinder gasoline engines.
The plant is adding production of engines for the 1 series this year and will produce engines for the next-generation Mini.
Hams Hall has capacity for 400,000 engines, but last year made only 124,500 engines, entirely for the 3 series.
With the introduction of the 1 series, production at Hams Hall will go up to 140,000 units this year and 200,000 in 2005. The 1 series will be introduced in Europe on September 18.
BMW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen are jointly developing a four-cylinder gasoline engine. The version for the Mini will be assembled at Hams Hall from components made in France, a BMW spokesman said.
That engine will replace the four-cylinder engine now used in the Mini, which is imported from BMW and DaimlerChrysler's Tritec joint venture plant in Curitiba, Brazil.
PSA will make its version in Douvrin, France. It will be offered in the Citroen Berlingo, C2, C3, Pluriel and C4, as well as the Peugeot 1007, 207, 307 and a 307-based minivan.
Hams Hall was completed in February 2001, shortly after BMW sold the money-losing Rover Group. Hams Hall was designed to make all four-cylinder engines for BMWs and Rovers.
With Rover gone, BMW had to rethink its engine-sourcing strategy. Making four-cylinder gasoline engines for the 3 series alone was not enough to keep the plant going.
The next-generation Mini will also likely get a PSA diesel engine to replace the Toyota diesels now being imported from Japan.
BMW is also insourcing its stamping operations, counter to decisions by many automakers to outsource class A stampings to independent stampers.
Stampings for the Mini come from Land Rover's stamping plant at Lode Lane, UK, which is adjacent to Land Rover's main Solihull assembly line, and BMW's press shops in Dingolfing, Germany, and Swindon, UK. For the next-generation Mini, stampings will come almost entirely from the Swindon press shop, which is one of Europe's largest.