BMW’s third-generation MINI, codenamed F56, is about to enter pre-production phase with ‘kite-flyer’ models set to roll off the Plant Oxford production line this week.
As you might expect, mixing two different generations of MINI on the production line presents a few challenges. Although that trend will continue for around two more years while the second-gen R56 models slowly wither away as up to 10 new F56-based models come on line.
The F56 is due to hit showrooms later this year and to cater for the expected increased demand a second production facility, NedCar in the Netherlands, will ramp up in 2014. NedCar will join Magna Steyr’s Austrian plant, which currently builds the Countryman and Paceman, as the only facilities outside of England to build MINIs.
In time, though, MINI is expected to concentrate production at Oxford and NedCar, with Magna expected to build another BMW branded model(s) once the current-gen Countryman platform reaches the end of its product cycle.
Given the F56 will be share many components with the front-wheel drive BMW 1 Series, including the UKL1 platform, don’t be surprised if that’s what Magna finds to fill the void.