MINI Plant in Oxford, UK
The new MINI is being manufactured on one of the world's most modern and advanced production systems at the BMW Group plant at Oxford - the result of a £230 million investment programme at the factory.
MINI Stars in "The Italian Job"
MINI, the 2003 North American Car of the Year, will join a stellar cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland, in Paramount Pictures’ film, “The Italian Job,” opening nationwide May 30th.
Rover´s Mini celebrates 40th anniversary
Mini's Life Begins at Forty
March 4, 1999 - The legendary Mini celebrates forty years in production this year. Developed in response to demand for a small car in the 1950s, the Mini has been in continuous production at Longbridge since 1959 – a motor industry record.
To celebrate this outstanding achievement, a number of events are taking place throughout the year. The bumper celebration for the fortieth ‘birthday’ of this motoring legend will be held at the Silverstone motor racing circuit on August 21. Silverstone hosted the tremendously successful 30th and 35th anniversary events and offers the ideal location for hosting the many thousands of Mini owners expected from all around the world.
A Masterpiece of Packaging
Issigonis turned his mind to the problem of designing the smallest possible car that would still accommodate four adults and luggage. In packaging this into a car no more than 10 feet (3 m) long Issigonis’ masterstroke was his idea of employing a transverse engine, driving the front wheels via a gearbox and a final drive built into the sump of the engine.
The small car project was known as ADO (for ‘Austin Design Office’)15. The car was designed in six months during 1957. Development progressed rapidly and in July 1958, Issigonis invited Leonard Lord to take a test drive round the factory. After five minutes, Lord was satisfied. He told Issigonis that he wanted the car in production within twelve months - and so it happened; the first production cars leaving the assembly lines at Longbridge and Cowley in May 1959.
Apart from the revolutionary engine and transmission layout, the Mini was in many respects very advanced with features such as: all independent suspension, Moulton-developed rubber cone suspension 10 inch wheels to save space and rack-and-pinion steering considered unusual at that time. While the body, with its functional styling with external welding seams incorporated for ease of manufacture, was of unitary construction, the power unit and suspension were mounted on sub-frames.
An Icon for a Generation
Mini sales grew slowly
at first but in 1962, annual production for the first time reached more
than 200,000 cars, and stayed consistently above this figure until 1977.
With the adoption of the Mini by the rich and famous as the ideal town
car in the 1960’s it became the icon of a generation and, helped by
a string of sporting successes in rallying, its place in motoring history
Today’s Sales Success
Today, after many improvements including an exhaust catalyst an even a driver’s air bag, Mini is still in demand around the world with over 16,000 cars sold in 1998 - the biggest markets being Japan, Germany and the UK.
... and what is to follow ...
The new BMW Mini