BMW has initiated series production of the new Mini Countryman, along with its electric counterpart, in Leipzig, marking the first instance of a Mini model being manufactured in Germany. This move also represents the first time that BMW Group is producing both Mini and BMW cars within the same factory. The new Mini Countryman is slated to arrive at dealerships on February 17, 2024.
Milan Nedeljković, Board Member for Production, describes this integration of multi-brand operations as part of the long-term strategy for the BMW iFactory. The company has invested approximately half a billion euros in Leipzig to enhance production capacity for new models, with the Mini Countryman sharing the assembly line with BMW 1 Series, BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé, and BMW 2 Series Active Tourer.
To accommodate Mini-specific requirements, BMW Group invested around €200 million in adapting the production system. Initially, the plant is expected to produce approximately 100 Mini Countryman cars per day, with plans to increase output to 500 by the end of next year, in addition to the nearly 1,000 BMW cars currently being produced daily.
The BMW Group's investment aligns with the EU's regulatory framework adopted in July, emphasizing the expansion of electric vehicle (EV) charging and hydrogen infrastructure. The Group plans to invest 683 million Danish Krones (about 91.5 million euros) in the project, with funding from the “Infrastructure Plan 2035” and additional government investment.
The new Mini Countryman, presented at this year's IAA, will be available with petrol, diesel, or fully electric powertrains. The production facility in Leipzig will also manufacture high-voltage batteries for the Mini Countryman Electric, contributing to the Group's commitment to electric mobility.
Petra Peterhänsel, Plant Director, affirms Leipzig's dedication to electric vehicles, citing the past production of BMW i3 and i8 models and the upcoming production of the Mini Countryman Electric. The plant will manufacture high-voltage batteries in-house, with plans for a second high-voltage battery assembly line in 2024.
This strategic move abroad aligns with BMW's evolving strategy, transitioning from German public transport to becoming a technology supplier for global manufacturers and retrofitters. The new Mini production in Leipzig is expected to create 900 new jobs in vehicle production alone.
As Mini production expands to Leipzig, the Oxford plant in the UK is preparing for a modernization focused on electric vehicle production. Despite earlier rumors, BMW confirmed plans to invest £600 million in the production of Mini brand vehicles in the UK, with the Oxford plant set to build two new all-electric Mini models from 2026 and exclusively electric models from 2030.