PressClub Global · Article.
Leipzig loves MINI: BMW Group Plant Leipzig celebrates production launch of MINI Countryman
10.11.2023 Press Release
+++ First MINI “made in Germany” +++ One production line, two brands, three drives +++ Board Member for Production Milan Nedeljković: Skill and flexibility are crucial +++ Minister President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer: A boost for the entire regional economy +++
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Leipzig. The production launch of the MINI Countryman marks a number of debuts and milestones: as the first MINI model to be made in Germany, the new MINI Countryman will roll off one and the same manufacturing line as the BMW 1 Series and 2 Series. Thanks to its flexible assembly structures, Plant Leipzig is in a position to produce two brands with three different drives – combustion, plug-in-hybrid and fully electric – all on the same production line.
Big Love is the motto of not just the MINI brand but also of the plant: Leipzig loves MINI and MINI loves Leipzig. Celebrating the production launch of the MINI Countryman today at a special event in the assembly hall were the BMW AG Board Member for Production, Milan Nedeljković; the Minister President of the state of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer; the head of the MINI brand, Stefanie Wurst; Mayor and Alderman for Business, Work and Digital Affairs, Clemens Schülke; various guests from politics and the media, and plant employees. To make sure everyone in the plant could experience the live broadcast of the celebration, the production lines stood still for almost 45 minutes.
Production of the largest MINI model to date marks an important step into the future of BMW Group Plant Leipzig. Since 2018 the company has invested some €700 million in the Saxony site to increase capacity and enable production of the MINI Countryman. In addition, this third generation of the vehicle will also be available with a fully electric drive. “Leipzig remains electrified,” said Plant Director Petra Peterhänsel.
“When it comes to the transformation,” Nedeljković emphasised, “skill and flexibility are crucial.” He added that the BMW Group had been quick to introduce and advance change: “Plant Leipzig plays a fundamental role in this regard. It was here that we launched production of the BMW i3 exactly ten years ago. We have since built on that, rolling the latest generation of electric cars out across our network.”
Nedeljković explained that all BMW Group plants are set up to produce different models with different drives – from combustion-powered to plug-in hybrid and fully electric – all on a single production line. But what’s special about Plant Leipzig, he added, is that its flexible production system is now being used for multiple brands for the very first time.
Michael Kretschmer, Minister President of Saxony, emphasised the importance of the BMW Group plant in Leipzig for the region and the federal state: “The BMW site in Leipzig is a success story of modern industrial production. Continued investments in the site and the launch of the MINI Countryman reaffirm the company’s commitment to ‘Autoland’ Saxony – and provide a boost for the entire regional economy, benefiting service providers and suppliers across the area.”
Clemens Schülke, Mayor and Alderman for Business, Work and Digital Affairs of the city of Leipzig was visibly pleased about the ‘new Leipziger’: “In my view, BMW Leipzig is an absolute success story. That’s why I am really looking forward to the next chapter: the first German MINI will be a genuine ‘Leipziger’. This model demonstrates the power and flexibility of our strong automotive cluster.”
Stefanie Wurst, head of MINI, detailed the characteristics of the new MINI Countryman: “The first MINI made in Germany stands for superior environmental credentials, not just as a product but equally in terms of its production. Its versatility and powerful, efficient drives make it the perfect companion for the city – but also for adventures beyond.”
Plant Director Petra Peterhänsel emphasised the importance of the MINI Countryman for the future of Plant Leipzig: “Today is a historical day for our site. As the plant develops and production of the MINI Countryman gets underway, our headcount will increase by over 1,000 by the end of 2024.”
“Today, we can see once again just how important our plant here in Leipzig is for the production network as a whole,” pointed out Works Council Chairman Jens Köhler as he thanked the BMW Group for their trust.
Hosting the event was the radio and television presenter Roman Knoblauch. But in addition to the MINI Countryman in Smokey Green with a contrast roof in Energy Silver, there was a secret star of the show: Spike, MINI’s digital friend. As the Intelligent Personal Assistant, Spike will support drivers of the new MINI model family and make the cars even more fun to use.
CO2 EMISSIONS & CONSUMPTION.
MINI Countryman SE ALL4 (combined electricity consumption: 18.5 – 17.0 kWh/100 km according to WLTP; combined CO2 emissions: 0 g/km).
MINI Countryman with combustion engine (combined fuel consumption according to WLTP: 8.3 – 4.8 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions: 188 – 125 g/km)
*All technical data is provisional.