By on May 16, 2014

2014-MINI-cooper-yellow

Already considering a new plant in Mexico for its 1 and 3 Series, BMW may also bring MINI production to the line when the factory doors open in the near future.

Automotive News Europe reports the automaker’s execs prefer Mexico for the location of the small-car plant, proclaiming higher profits under a robust euro from building lower margin vehicles in the country’s growing manufacturing base.

The decision on where the plant will go could come sometime in the second half of 2014. Should Mexico get the nod, total annual production capacity in North America would climb to 600,000 units, the bulk of which would be fueled by the Spartanburg, S.C. plant’s 450,000 units per year.

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40 Comments on “BMW May Bring MINI Production To Mexico...”


  • avatar

    Anyone have stats regarding production quality of vehicles manufactured in Mexico vs other countries? Just seems to have a negative connotation here, but that is my uninformed bias.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      Oh, there are plenty of anecdotes about “Mexican quality”. I have a feeling the good data is not very easy to find unless you work in a specific part of the industry.

      If you want to start running down the rabbit hole of geographical effect on quality, don’t forget there are hundreds of individual components that are not made at the final assembly plant, or even in that country. When Pedro bolts in the foreign window regulator at final assembly, it’s not his fault the thing craps out in 20k miles.

      Consider the current Mini Cooper: final assembly is in England, with 30% of the parts coming from the UK, 25% from France and 5% from the USA. Engine is from France and the transmission is from Germany. What about the origin of the remaining 40%? Most likely sourced from among China, Mexico and Europe. Who do you blame when something goes wrong? Is it an assembly issue or a component issue? Don’t just blindly blame the country of assembly – in this case they are only 30% of the picture!

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      And UK car production has what connotation for you?

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        I’ll answer that . UK production of the MINI for me means despite the reality that the MINI is in fact [ and will be the basis of the new ] a FWD BMW … at least building the thing in the UK gives it some credibility .. albeit ever so slight .. considering the amount of marketing MINI does based on its ‘Heritage’

        Whereas … in light of of VW’s woes with their all Mexican built cars over the last ten years .. not to mention the loss of any Britishness what so ever should MINIs be built in Mexico .. the very thought of a Mexican built MINI somewhat offends me . As a former MINI owner I might add

    • 0 avatar
      Victor

      We get a few mexican cars down here, such as the Honda CR-V. The japanese CR-V still has a reputation in the used car market, but it may as well be due to silly prejudice. The mexican Fords are pretty good. The brazilian New Fiesta is embarrassingly worse in pretty much every possible way, down to the paint job and panel gaps. The interior is also cheaper.

      Recently I’ve been to a Ford dealership – the wife loves the New Fiesta – and I did not find any noticeable differences between the finishing on the mexican Fusion and on the american Edge at the showroom. Also a friend of mine has a mexican 2007 Mk1 Fusion, it is over 100k miles and still in pretty good shape.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Visual vs Actual Victor . One based on a quickly assessed opinion based on looks . The other based on time spent with the vehicle being used as intended thereby acquiring the facts needed to come up with a reliable judgement !

        Looks .. are deceiving . The historical record is not . And history has said time and time again Mexican built cars [ as well as guitars ] are of a vastly inferior quality on the best of days .

        • 0 avatar
          Victor

          Well, you are using VW as an example. VWs are not the most reliable cars out there, either they come from Mexico or from Wolfsburg itself. And I was very much clear on the fact that my opinion was based on perceptions.

          Not delusion, but perceptions.

          • 0 avatar
            jim brewer

            Everytime I see the Mexican Dodge I bought 25 years ago spin by my office window my perception is pretty good.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        When I sold my S2000, the guy who bought it “overpaid” for it, because of which specific Honda factory in Japan it was made at. He was Japanese, and I’m aware they have their very own peculiarities (and sometimes the yen to indulge in them), but that level of specificity did surprise me.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    This one has me confused . MINI sales are way down worldwide . My Brit Buddies assure me the Oxford plant still has plenty of additional capacity … and that no … MINI production is not slated to leave the UK .

    So whats the deal with BMW announcing they may build Mexican plants to manufacture the MINI ?

    This is perhaps the first thing I’ve read from BMW in ages that makes absolutely no logical sense . Unless of course my Brit Buddies [ in the industry ] have been mislead . Either that or BMWs been getting their bottled water from GMs supplier .. ;-)

    • 0 avatar
      sitting@home

      If sales are down then profits per vehicle are down as fixed costs need to be spread across fewer vehicles. The UK has strict labor laws about terminating/laying idle employees so the plant costs can’t readily be adjusted as demand fluctuates.

      None of that is a problem in Mexico. Wages are lower, workers can be hired and fired on the slightest whim, and with MINI’s reliability rating in the toilet …

      http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/10/29/consumer-reports-worst-cars/3304413/

      moving manufacturing to Mexico is hardly going to affect build quality perception.

      Adios Oxford amigos.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        sitting@home -Wages are Lower . The cost to manufacture is lower . Workers can be hired and fired on a whim …

        …. and ..

        The level and education of the workers is lower . The quality of their work is lower . The workers are in fact more Share Croppers/Slave Labor rather than Workers and therefore behave accordingly .The quality fit and finish of ALL cars coming out of Mexico is substantially lower as well … as VW GM Ford etc have been learning the hard way for going on the last ten years .

        So remind me again how this in any way is a Good Thing ?

        As to the “quality perception” issue . Like to place a small virtual wager on that ? Oh hell .. make it a very large one . You’ll lose … but what the heck

        • 0 avatar
          sitting@home

          It’s NOT a good thing .. for workers or consumers. It IS a good thing .. for management and shareholder’s bonuses. Now who makes the decisions about where to build cars, the workers and consumers or the management and shareholders ?

          Sorry, but MINI are consistently near the bottom in almost every survey on reliability. Here’s another from their home turf …

          http://www.reliabilityindex.com/manufacturer

          Where they’re roundly beaten by former garbage joke punchlines Skoda and Daewoo. If it’s not a perceived problem, then it must be a real one.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Is quality lower on Mexican built cars than British built ones? Or do people only naively believe so, because British liberal newspapers (Guardian) are more popular than Mexican ones?

          From what I remember, it seems Chrysler has less problems with their Mexican built anythings, than they ever did with the stuff they sourced from that Mecca of quality and high wages, Germany.

          Stuff made in Japan itself always seem to come out high on quality rankings, as does stuff made in Switzerland, but aside from that (and even that may just be perception or skewed metrics by now), I can’t imagine quality differs much at all. After all, if quality was that dependent on “positive labor relations” and high wages, Saabs and Volvos wouldn’t all be falling apart, would they?

          • 0 avatar
            th009

            It’s all about quality processes and training, not where the plant is physically located. There is absolutely no reason why a final assembly plant in Mexico couldn’t have exactly the same quality as one in Germany (or UK, or Japan, or …).

        • 0 avatar
          schmitt trigger

          “So remind me again how this in any way is a Good Thing ?”

          How about Mexicans staying in Mexico instead of migrating to the US?

          Or how about Mexican youngsters looking forward to a technical profession and working for a prestigious company as a means to avoid wretched poverty, instead of the only option being to work for the drug cartels?

    • 0 avatar
      Vega

      “MINI sales are way down worldwide” Not really a surprise during a major model change, genius Somehow your ‘Brit buddies’ have failed to tell you that no factory can operate even near capacity during a retooling.

      I quote BMW:
      April saw 20,917 MINIs delivered to customers (prev. yr. 24,583/ -14.9%). Year-to-date sales are down 13.2% with 78,785 units sold (prev. yr. 90,739). This expected decrease in sales is due to the recent model change in the core model MINI Hatch. The strong interest customers are showing in the new MINI is expected to be reflected in the retail figures from summer onwards.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Vega – How wrong can one commenter possibly be ? Oh wait … you might of just answered that .

        Seriously … if you had a clue who one of my UK contacts is you’d know how uninformed and wrong your post really is

        Heres some MINI reality . Sales of ALL MINIs with the sole exception of the MINI Countryman have been on the decline going on three years now . With several of their models sales having never taken off to being with

        Read the business trades . Not the corporate rhetoric/propaganda .

        • 0 avatar
          enzl

          Your attitude sucks and your info is worse…here’s an article from The Guardian, regarding Mini’s 2013 sales…a record 300k+ sold worldwide. Model changeover is the reason for production slowdown, your ‘sources’ are mistaken (or non-existent)

          If you knew what you were talking about, I’d leave it alone…you rarely do and, quite frankly, you need to stop the incessant attacks on others.
          Here’s the quote: “BMW also increased sales of the Mini and Rolls-Royce, with Mini sales hitting a record 305,000 vehicles, up 1.2% from 2012. The US remains the largest market for the compact car with 66,000 sold last year, followed by 53,000 in the UK.”
          Link: http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jan/13/bmw-luxury-top-spot-record-2013-car-sales

          Dummy.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Heh..when he meets with his “Brit Buddies” can anyone else see them?

          • 0 avatar
            TheyBeRollin

            DFTT

            I’ve dealt with many over the years and this one looks to have some severe psych problems. Acknowledging their existence with a response makes them more active. Making an intelligent response is even worse.

            This one also has at least two very obvious sockpuppets.

          • 0 avatar
            MK

            Who’s up for playing the role of Deontay Wilder to gutrslngr’s Charlie Zelenoff?

            This dude is just clueless.

        • 0 avatar
          Vega

          Listen, I’ve been watching you destroying the conversation here long enough. You have an opinion about everything, usually wrong, and usually start name calling immediately when someone calls you out.

          Official customer sales numbers (you know the audited ones, the ones which are illegal to tamper with):

          Mini global deliveries to customers:

          http://www.bmwgroup.com/bmwgroup_prod/e/0_0_www_bmwgroup_com/investor_relations/fakten_zum_unternehmen/produktion.html

          2009: 213,760
          2010: 234,175
          2011: 285,060
          2012: 301,526
          2013: 305,030

          So sales have been on the decline for three years now? Interesting.

          P.S.: Learn proper grammar (‘you might of just answered that’)

          P.P.S.: I believe banning you would improve the level of conversation here.

    • 0 avatar
      darex

      The Countryman was not built in the UK, despite this claimed excess capacity.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    If they could improve the reliability of the Mini, I am sure they could sell a lot more, but when you are consistently in the bottom of the surveys time after time, it shows they can’t or won’t fix the issues.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      @Volt – let me preface this by saying that I agree that MINI reliability is worse than most of its competitors… but the surveys don’t necessarily tell the whole story. The average MINI is every bit as reliable as the average 3-series or Audi A4. The difference is that people who buy $24,000 MINIs expect Camcord reliability because the prices are similar. A4 and 3-series buyers expect worse reliability than they get – thus those nameplates end up higher in the “surveys”.

      That said, after owning both an R53 and an R56, I can honestly say that their reliability isn’t what I’d call “bad” at all. Heck, my TTAC-vaunted Japanese 3rd gen CR-V had transmission problems, brake problems, and a high speed shake that the dealer never solved – all before it hit 70,000 miles. The R53, by contrast, only had 1 trip to the service department for a warranty issue.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        In many ways, the Mini model is even further removed from the Cmcord one, than are most Euro brands. Every single part that goes into a Mini as delivered, is pretty much custom ordered. When you buy one, you realize the base model consists of a badge. The you get to choose which material the cylinder linings are made from. Which brand of beer the british lad who put it together should spill on which brand of bolts are used to hold the block together. Etc., etc…..

        When you go that far down the road of customizability, you are basically building cars the Rolls Royce way, just without the budget to do as much quality control before delivery. Of course, their customers seem to care more about making their car a “reflection of their personality, dreams and aspirations”, than about CamCord reliability….

  • avatar
    Victor

    Funny that when Alfa Romeo is aiming at the italian-only production, BMW is going everywhere. Brazilian production starts next year.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Victor …. and where in gods name did you get that piece of misinformation from ?

      Fact is Marchionne is pulling everything he can including FCAs WHQ out of Italy . Try more like FIAT/Alfa Romeo is aiming at Mexican , South East Asian , Chinese and perhaps a little bit of MittelEuropean production … not Italian !

  • avatar
    Rnaboz

    I have a 2013 Cooper S ordered from the factory, that now has 15k on the clock. I have had zero problems with the car. The uptick on 2013 sales is possibly due to the 2014 model being bigger in all areas. The 2014, which I have driven has moved more main stream.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    @gtrslngr
    You know I’m a right leaning sort of person. But some of your views are really out their.

    As automation occurs and components are sourced globally the impact of the individual on the line is minimised.

    This can be seen in the textile industry that is heavily reliant on human resources. Most clothing, even brand name is manufactured in impoverished nations.

    All you need to manufacture/assemble a motor vehicle is good logistics, energy and a workforce with minimal educational standards.

    The education level required for process work is marginal. That’s why in Detroit some line workers are offered $12 per hour.

    The engineering and design is where the quality and technology comes from in a vehicle.

    We get many vehicles from Thailand and the quality is on par or only slightly below that of the Japanese. In actual fact I do believe the quality of Thai manufactured vehicles is superior to US manufactured vehicles.

    The average Thai wage is similar to that of Chinese workers.

    Place of manufacture is having less impact on quality as motor vehicle manufacturing becomes mainstream.

    Once leading industrial nations controlled textiles and clothing. We’ve progressed beyond that now.

    So give us a break and sit down and have a close look at your delusional paradigms on how things work, especially people from other nations.

    They are no different than us. Money doesn’t give you intelligence.

    I would look at the companies that employ these people from the less fortunate countries. Look at the expectations from people like yourself who expect a lower quality product.

    If you are in the auto industry at a managerial level and I was your boss I would fire you for your negative attitude which would impact the quality of what I was trying to produce.

    If you expect $hit for an outcome, your workers will give you a $hit outcome.

  • avatar
    th009

    Only 1-series, not 3-series. Shared FWD platform with the Mini. They would not be able to build the 3-series on the same line.

  • avatar
    ExPatBrit

    The original Mini was built in about 10 different factories worldwide.

    There are were a bunch of CKD factories as well.

    Innocenti built them under license in Italy and came out with their own models.Including the first hatchbacks.

    There were even some Minis with fiberglass bodies built in Venezuela and Chile.

    I will take a Riley Elf or Wolseley Hornet with the turbo motor in Black.

  • avatar
    Marcus36

    Man! this site sure brings out the worst in some people like ingnorance, prejudice etc. etc.


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