BMW’s engine plant at Hams Hall in the West Midlands has won a top engineering award for one of its products for the second year running.
It took the International Engine of the Year Award 2008 in the 1.4 to 1.8 litre category for the 1.6 litre turbo-charged petrol engine that goes into the Mini Cooper S Hatchback and the Cooper S Clubman. The plant’s 1,000-strong workforce greeted the award with "enormous enthusiasm".
Hams Hall supplies all of BMW’s four cylinder petrol engines and ships them to plants in Germany, South Africa and the US as well as well as to the Mini plant at Oxford. It is part of the German carmaker’s UK manufacturing triangle centred on the former Rover factory at Cowley on the outskirts of Oxford. The third arm is the Mini body pressings plant at Swindon.
The IEotY honours, which are presented by UKIP, Britain’s biggest group of technical motoring publications, are regarded as the most prestigious in the automotive world recognising engineering excellence
The Hams Hall-built International Engine of the Year combines innovative twin-scroll turbo technology with direct fuel injection to deliver a power output of 175hp while also achieving nearly 41 mpg combined fuel consumption.
Plant director Robert Bolam said: "Winning this prestigious award for the second successive year is a real credit to our workforce. Providing the heartbeat under the bonnet of a car that’s so great to drive gives us enormous pride." The Hams Hall engine plant, which was opened in 2001, is the centre of competence in the international production network of the BMW Group.
Annual production at the plant last year topped 367,000 engines, an increase in output of almost 70 per cent compared with 2006. The massive rise in production was largely the result of producing engines for Mini over a full twelve-month period for the first time.
Mini engines were previously supplied from a factory in Brazil that BMW ran as a joint venture with Chrysler. But BMW later joined forces with French automotive group PSA Peugeot Citroen to develop the new generation of low emission units that power the new generation of Minis launched at the end of 2006.
Current production at Hams Hall is split roughly fifty-fifty between engines built for Mini and BMW.
"The BMW Group’s investment in the particularly fuel-efficient engines being built at Hams Hall for both Mini and BMW gives us a real advantage over our competitors," Mr Bolam said.
"Our great engines, the continuing investment in the development of our highly efficient production facilities and the commitment of our excellent workforce give us a strong basis for continued success in the future."