More than 375,000 of the 500,000 Minis have been exported representing over 75% of the total produced since the launch of the car. The UK car export market is worth approximately £11 billion per annum and Mini is the UK’s fifth largest car manufacturer.
Andrew Smith MP, secretary of state for work and pensions, was at the plant to see the car roll off the line.
Initial forecasts by the company predicted that the plant would build 100,000 Minis a year, but worldwide demand has brought the half-million milestone two years early. More than 176,000 Minis were sold in 2003 in 70 different markets from Thailand to Trinidad. 2004 is set to be another record year with 111,142 vehicles sold in the first seven months of 2004; an increase of 4% compared to the same period in 2003. The UK remains the number one market for MINI.
The 500,000th Mini is a dark silver Mini Cooper S bound for America – Mini’s second biggest market after the UK. Mini USA organised for the lucky customer, Dan Cowdry, from California, to collect his Mini from the Oxford plant.