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500,000th MINI produced at BMW Group Plant Oxford

The 500,000th MINI has come off the production line at BMW Group Plant Oxford today, three years after the car first went on sale in July 2001.

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The 500,000th MINI has come off the production line at BMW Group Plant Oxford
today, three years after the car first went on sale in July 2001.

More than 375,000 of the 500,000 MINIs have been exported representing over 75
per cent of the total produced since the launch of the car. The UK car export
market is worth approximately £11 billion per annum* and MINI is the UK's fifth
largest car manufacturer.

The Rt. Hon. Andrew Smith MP, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, was at
the plant to see the car roll off the line. "This is a great moment for the
workforce and British manufacturing. The MINI plant is a success story that is
benefiting both the local and national economy.

Initial forecasts by the company predicted that the plant would build 100,000
MINIs a year, but worldwide demand has brought the half-million milestone two
years early. Over 176,000 MINIs were sold in 2003 in 70 different markets from
Thailand to Trinidad. 2004 is set to be another record year with 111,142
vehicles sold in the first seven months of 2004; an increase of four per cent
compared to the same period in 2003. The UK remains the number one market for
MINI.

Dr Anton Heiss, managing director of BMW Group Plant Oxford, said, "We have
reached this achievement through the commitment and flexibility of the 4,500
employees at the plant. With MINI's continuing sales success, we are on
schedule to produce more vehicles than the 174,000 MINIs built last year."

The 500,000th MINI is a dark silver MINI Cooper S bound for America - MINI's
second biggest market after the UK. MINI USA organised for the lucky customer
to collect his MINI from the Oxford plant. Dan Cowdry from California said,
"It's a real treat to see the home of MINI in Oxford, England but I'm really
looking forward to showing the car to my friends back home."

MINI is the smallest car on the road in the USA and, since its launch in March
2002, nearly 80,000 have been sold.

Ends.

* Source: SMMT

Editor's note:
UK car production for export has been on the increase since the 1980s:

1985 207,671 cars for export, 19.8 per cent of total 1,047,973 units
1990 405,769 cars for export, 31.3 per cent of total 1,295,611 units
1995 744,611 cars for export, 48.6 per cent of total 1,532,084 units
2000 1,062,927 cars for export, 64.8 per cent of total 1,641,452 units
2003 1,146,592 cars for export, 69.2 per cent of total 1,657,558 units

(Source: SMMT)

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