MUNICH - BMW will temporarily cut production at its Mini factory in Oxford, England, to prepare the plant for the introduction of a Mini station wagon.
BMW plans to invest about E150 million to make the Oxford plant more flexible, said Kay Segler, Mini's vice president for brand management. The target is a 20 percent increase in capacity.
Total production for 2006 will be less than the 200,000-plus units expected this year. That will result in a longer waiting period for a customer-ordered model. The wait in the US is already four months due to the car's popularity.
200 extra jobs
Mini production will stop for more than three weeks in late 2005 and early 2006, Segler said. There will be other output reductions in 2006.
The plant changes will include a paint-shop modernization and the addition of 200 jobs.
Moreover, the lines will be modified for the addition of a third body style, a station wagon likely to be called the Mini Traveller. The second Mini variant, a convertible, was introduced just after the Geneva auto show in 2004.
Details about the wagon are expected to be announced at the Detroit auto show in January. The model will go on sale starting 2008.
Segler said Mini Traveller concepts shown at the Tokyo auto show and the IAA in Frankfurt are not necessarily representative of the production vehicle.
"Proceed under the assumption that many elements of the concept vehicle will not be realized in a production model," Segler said.
For example, the two doors that are positioned side-by-side at the rear of the concepts are not planned.
A BMW source said: "They are too expensive to design."