PM hails carmaking plant centenary
Prime Minister David Cameron has congratulated Mini makers BMW as the company marked the 100th anniversary of carmaking at Oxford.
It was on March 28, 1913 that the Cowley plant at Oxford produced its first car - the Bullnose Morris Oxford.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%
Mr Cameron said: "The Government is working closely with the automotive industry so that it continues to compete and thrive in the global race, and the success of Mini around the world stands as a fine example of British manufacturing at its best.
"The substantial contribution which the Oxford plant has made to the local area and the British economy over the last 100 years is something we should be proud of."
The Cowley plant has produced more than 11 million vehicles in its 100 years.
Celebrating the milestone, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Harald Krueger, member of the board of management of BMW AG, opened a centenary exhibition at the plant.
Mr McLoughlin viewed the new bodyshop and some of the 1,000 new robots being installed in this facility. It represents the lion's share of BMW Group's £750 million UK investment programme, preparing the company's manufacturing facilities for the next generation Mini.
Mr McLoughlin said: "A thriving automotive sector is central to this Government's commitment to driving economic growth. By creating jobs and exporting British-made products to global markets, Mini is sending a clear message that this country is open for business."
The plant was originally owned by William Morris, one of the great names of British motoring, who later became Lord Nuffield. Cowley - a small district of Oxford - became a world-famous factory, turning out such iconic models as the MG, the Wolseley, the Riley, the Austin and, in 1959, the Mini.
Today, Oxford employs 3,700 staff who manufacture up to 900 Minis a day.