Brown launches another Mini adventure

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BMW said it was putting another £200m in the UK yesterday as its latest Mini model began rolling off the line in Oxford.

The German car maker is increasing production of the iconic car from 200,000 to 240,000 a year, and is investing more than £100m to expand its plant in Cowley, Oxford. Another £60m is being invested in assembly technologies in Swindon, Wiltshire, and £30m on new petrol engines at a site near Birmingham.

The investment will create 450 jobs in the UK.

Gordon Brown described the Mini as an icon of "what is really great about Britain" while he visited the Cowley site yesterday. He also thanked the workforce there and said it was an example of "how Britain and modern manufacturing can compete and succeed in the new global economy".

Richard Lambert, the director-general of the CBI, said the BMW investment was a "significant contribution" to the UK economy.

BMW's chairman, Norbert Reithofer, said the company had increased production capacity by 20 per cent at the three English sites that built the Mini and ran flexible shift patterns - allowing for cars to be made seven days a week.

Dr Reithofer said the company was a "strong partner" for the UK economy in terms of employment and purchasing power as well as long-term investment.