On 16 April, a 2.0-litre petrol engine ordered by a customer for a new three-door version of the BMW 1 Series was the one millionth engine to be produced at the Hams Hall plant since production started at the state-of-the-art West Midlands factory in January 2001. Breaking the one million barrier marks a major milestone in the plant’s development and underlines its growing importance in the international production network of the BMW Group as the centre of competence for four-cylinder engine production for both BMW and MINI.
Within hours of coming off the assembly line, the built-to-order engine was shipped to the BMW assembly plant in Leipzig, Germany, one of six assembly plants in five different countries to which the UK plant supplies engines just-in-sequence for a growing number of BMW and MINI brand vehicles.

“Each and every one of the associates in our thousand-strong workforce at Hams Hall is extremely proud of having contributed to this significant achievement. Following last year’s record output of 217,000 engines, annual production this year is scheduled to go well above 300,000 engines. The plant is going from strength to strength and we are looking forward to building many more engines for both BMW and MINI in the years ahead,” commented Robert Bolam, who took over as plant director at Hams Hall at the beginning of the year.

Of the one million engines to have come off the Hams Hall assembly lines so far, 925,000 have been built for BMW brand vehicles. These include the four-cylinder petrol variants of the BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, Z4 Roadster and X3 model ranges built at plants in Germany, Austria, South Africa and the US. The remaining 75,000 engines have been assembled since September last year for the highly successful MINI Cooper S, MINI Cooper and MINI One models built at the company’s plant in Oxford. The launch before the end of 2007 of the recently announced MINI Clubman will extend the range of MINI derivatives and consolidate the growing importance of Plant Oxford which has become the biggest single customer for Hams Hall engines. Annual capacity at Plant Oxford is planned to reach 240,000 units in the medium term.

BMW Hams Hall Plant Produces One Millionth Engine
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The one millionth engine assembled at Hams Hall, built-to-order for a BMW 120i, features BMW High Precision Injection, a second-generation direct petrol injection technology demonstrating BMW Group’s EfficientDynamics concept of offering improved power and performance coupled with a significant reduction in fuel consumption and emissions. The fuel consumption of the new Hams Hall-powered BMW120i is approximately 15 per cent less than that of the previous model, despite an 8 per cent increase in output.

The introduction of BMW’s unique High Precision Injection marks a further improvement in fuel efficiency over the revolutionary VALVETRONIC variable valve management system first introduced by BMW on the four-cylinder petrol engines launched at the start-up of production at Hams Hall in 2001. VALVETRONIC has subsequently been introduced across BMW’s entire model range. Measures to further optimise VALVETRONIC engine technology will ensure it continues to play an important role in countries where sulphur-free fuel required for the operation of direct injection engines is not yet available.

The production launch last year at Hams Hall of a new family of high-tech four-cylinder petrol engines for MINI means that MINI customers can also be proud of having chosen the best car in its class in terms of performance and efficiency.

In its first year of production (2001), the Hams Hall plant, following an initial investment of £400 million and with a workforce of 450 associates, built and delivered 70,000 engines. In 2007, production will easily exceed 300,000 engines with a workforce that now numbers just over 1,000 associates. During the past six months alone, 250 new associates have been taken on to cope with increasing volume requirements resulting from the launch of the highly successful second-generation MINI under BMW Group ownership.

With the launch of the new MINI at the end of 2006, the MINI Production Triangle was formed comprising the UK plants at Oxford, Hams Hall and Swindon, with Hams Hall supplying all petrol engines and Swindon the pressings and sub-assemblies to Plant Oxford.

Hams Hall’s plant director Robert Bolam commented: “The new generation of particularly fuel-efficient engines being built at Hams Hall for BMW and MINI, our continuing investment in the development of our highly efficient production facilities and the commitment of our excellent workforce are factors that give us a really powerful springboard for continued success in the future.”

Blas Nicusor
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