It has been an interesting month for news in the world of technology and engineering. The story that captured the imaginations of many was Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, whereby a subsonic train will transport passengers between New York and Washington DC at speeds of over 700mph – that’s a journey time of just 29 minutes. Remarkable, we’re sure you’ll agree.
However, one story stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of importance to British engineering and manufacturing: BMW’s decision to build the fully electric version of the Mini at its Cowley plant in Oxford, England.
Now, you may think this isn’t especially significant, since it already builds its non-electric versions at the plant. We recommend taking a closer look at what this pledge means.
For starters, with Brexit likely to increase import tariffs, many manufacturers are concerned about rising costs of production. BMW has made this decision despite this threat. From 2019, it will be importing its drivetrains from Germany, for fitting in the UK, and then exporting cars back to Europe. Clearly, the many positives of manufacturing in the UK outweighs the potential drawbacks of importing and exporting.
Let’s not forget, jobs have also been secured. BMW employs some 18,000 staff in the UK (with 4,500 of those at the Cowley plant) and this is a big vote of confidence in our workforce. Retaining projects with the likes of BMW also helps us to enhance our skills and technology further.
It is too early to tell if BMW’s decision to invest in UK automotive manufacturing post-Brexit will be copied by other big firms, but this is certainly an important step in the right direction. As a major supplier of components to automotive manufacturers we’re absolutely delighted with BMW’s decision – fingers crossed many more automakers follow suit.