German Ambassador Georg Boomgaarden toured BMW’s Hams Hall engine plant near Birmingham as part of a visit to the West Midlands yesterday.
He heard from plant director Mathias Hofmann about the successful development of the factory, which exports engines to BMW vehicle plants in Germany, Austria and South Africa, and also supplies all petrol engines for the production of Mini in Oxford.
The UK-built engines power the four-cylinder petrol versions of the BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, 5 Series, X3 and MINI model ranges.
Since the factory began production in 2001, more than 1.5 million engines have been produced, with the plant celebrating its half-millionth Mini engine at the same time as the car’s 50th birthday this summer.
Hams Hall, part of BMW’s UK “manufacturing triangle” - the third element of which is the Swindon body panels plant - employs more than 800 people.
During his visit, Mr. Boomgaarden discussed with Mr. Hofmann and other company representatives BMW Group’s manufacturing presence in the UK which is the company’s second-largest production base and also the third-largest market for sales.
He was told that the Munich-based group employs more than 7,000 people at its four main production plants in Oxford, Hams Hall, Swindon and Goodwood (Rolls-Royce Motor Cars) and within its UK sales and marketing and financial services functions.
Some further 11,000 people are employed in the 156-strong UK dealer network and BMW has invested £1 billion in the UK since 2000.
Mr Boomgaarden said Hams Hall was one of the most substantial German investments in the UK.
“ It was a pleasure to tour this plant in the industrial heartland of England, where cutting-edge technology and dedicated staff meet to turn out a world-wide supply of highly efficient four-cylinder petrol engines for BMW Group.”
Mr Hofmann said: “With strong products, modern production facilities and a highly-skilled and motivated workforce, our plant in Hams Hall is very successful and internationally competitive.
“We are extremely proud at Hams Hall to be building fuel-efficient engines to the highest possible standards for both the BMW and Mini brands.”