MUNICH, Germany -- BMW AG will 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 150 million euros ($174.9 million at current exchange rates) to make the Oxford plant more flexible, said Kay Segler, Mini's vice president for brand management. The goal is a 20 percent increase in capacity.
Production for 2006 will be fewer 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 United States already is four months because of the car's popularity.
In 2005 and early 2006, Mini production will stop for more than three weeks, Segler said. There will be other reductions in output in 2006. The plant changes will include modernizing the paint shop and adding 200 jobs. The lines also will be modified for a third body style, a station wagon likely to be called the Mini Traveller. Details about the wagon are expected at the Detroit auto show in January. The model will go on sale in 2008.
Segler said the Mini Traveller concepts shown at the Tokyo and Frankfurt auto shows are not necessarily representative of the production vehicle. "Proceed under the assumption that many elements of the concept vehicle are not being 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."