BMW has now produced three million four-cylinder petrol engines at its plant at Hams Hall in the UK Midlands. The factory has supplied engines for the Mini since 2006, when the company started phasing out the Chrysler-sourced power units that had previously been used, and it has been producing engines for BMW-badged cars such as the 1-Series, 3-Series and X1 for over a decade.
Hams Hall employs 800 staff and is part of BMW's UK “production triangle”, which also embraces a bodywork plant in Swindon and the final assembly facility for the Mini in Oxford. The company has said it will make further investments in the plant in order to allow it to produce future generations of engines.
The concentration of BMW's four-cylinder petrol engine production in the UK is a legacy of the company's previous ownership of Rover but there seems to have been little difficulty in finding demand from elsewhere within the German-owned group to keep Hams Hall busy. The large scale of activity at Hams Hall also emphasises the UK's growing role as a big producer and net exporter of engines. Ford, for example, which no longer makes cars in Britain, still maintains large engine factories at Dagenham in East London and in Bridgend in Wales. In total, the UK produced 1.34 million cars in 2011 but almost twice as many engines – 2.5 million.