mini 3 million

MINI reached a big milestone recently with the production of its three millionth car since 2001, and its two millionth international export. The former is a 5-door Hatch Cooper S with a special exterior design to celebrate its British roots, while the car going on a ship is a Volcanic Orange MINI Hatch bound for Japan.

Relaunched in 2001 under the BMW Group, the MINI brand is a British export success story with cars shipped out to more than 110 markets, with combined value of exports from approaching £30 billion (RM155.5 bil). USA is the biggest MINI market, followed by UK, Germany, China and France. In the intervening 13 years, the MINI range has grown from one to seven models.

A £750 million (RM3.89 bil) investment is underway across three of BMW Group’s UK manufacturing plants. Highlights include a new 1,000-robot bodyshop at Plant Oxford and the installation of new body manufacturing tech including laser welding at Plant Swindon.

The Hams Hall engine plant is also being freshly equipped for a new generation of modular power units that will be manufactured at the company’s three global engine plants, with the Hams Hall plant supplying crankshafts to all.

The MINI 5-door Hatch is the new F56 MINI Hatch (view launch report, test drive report and appearance in Driven) with two extra doors, an extended wheelbase (by 72 mm) and a longer rear overhang for more cabin space. Not quite a Countryman, but the 5-door is 11 mm taller. Full info and pics here.

At home, MINI Malaysia released the 55 Edition MINI Countryman last month, a limited edition that commemorates MINI’s 55th anniversary as well as Hari Merdeka and Hari Malaysia. Limited to 55 units, the exclusive-to-Malaysia special edition is priced at an attractive RM188,888 on-the-road without insurance. That’s a full RM30k cheaper than the regular CKD Cooper Countryman, and there are reasons why.

55 Edition MINI Countryman, a Malaysia-only limited edition