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A century of automotive production in Oxford

100 years of the Morris factory

See some highlights from Oxford’s 100-year long history of automotive manufacturing

It’s been 100 years since the first car, a Morris Oxford 10HP Light Car, rolled off the production line in Cowley, Oxford

Today Plant Oxford is one of the most historic automotive locations on the planet and where the owner, BMW Group, continues to build most of its Mini range; specifically the hatchback, Clubman, Convertible, Roadster, Coupé and Clubvan.

So far the plant has produced more than 11,650,000 vehicles from 14 different brands, including models like the original Mini and the Morris Minor.

All of this wouldn’t be possible without a certain William Morris, founder of Morris Motors and later Lord Nuffield, who was the first to apply Henry Ford’s mass production techniques in the UK. By the mid-1930s Morris products made up almost 30 per cent of all British exports.

Other cars that exited Plant Oxford’s gates include the BMC 1100/1300, Morris Marina, Austin Maestro/Montego, Rover 800, Rover 600 and the Rover 75 before BMW broke up with Rover and started using the plant solely for Minis.

Construction of a new production line is currently in the final stages at the factory, with it benefitting from the installation of around 1000 new robots in a new bodyshop and other existing areas of the plant.

This accounts for the lion’s share of the £750 million investment programme that came in to effect last year, with the aim of preparing the production facility for the next generation of Mini models.

Board member Harald Kruger said: “Oxford is to Mini what Munich is to BMW”, reflecting perfectly the prosperity that surrounds the historic factory in Cowley.

Here’s to the next one hundred years.

Click through the gallery to see some of the cars which have been produced at Plant Oxford.