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Premium sector commitment from BMW at Hams Hall opening

BMW has made clear its commitment to prosper as a specialist producer of vehicles - finally laying to rest the ghost of its aspirations to become a volume player - at the opening of its £400m engine plant at Hams Hall.

At the ceremony this morning to open BMW's first engine plant outside Germany or Austria, chairman of BMW Group's board of management Prof Joachim Milberg's (left) speech demonstrated that the company had put behind it the embarrassing failure of its involvement in Rover and the attempt to be a volume player.

He said: “We will concentrate exclusively on the premium sectors of the market, where our products will have design, technology and performance attributes which will set them apart from the rest.

“The BMW Group is not a volume producer, with all the uncertainties and volume-driven challenges which currently face mass manufacturers. We are much more interested in profitable growth.

“With our two UK-based brands, MINI and Rolls-Royce, we are seeking profitable growth below and above the traditional BMW market segments and expanding or product portfolio into premium sectors.”

Prof Milberg said premium producers, like BMW, were not as susceptible to business cycles as volume producers.

“Forecasts state that for the next 10 years the premium segments in the car market will grow by about 50% worldwide. In comparison, the volume segments will grow only by around 25% over the same period of time,” he said.

“Not least for this reason, BMW expects its sales to grow continuously in the future.”

Hams Hall, Warwickshire, has began building the new generation of four-cylinder petrol engines – between 1.6 and 2-litres - for its car plants in Germany, South Africa and the USA. At full capacity, the plant will be capable of producing more than 400,000 engines per year and will employ around 1,500 people.

The factory was formally opened by Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Oxford MP Andrew Smith.

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