MINI production paused at Oxford plant

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Mini Countryman PHEV 2021 3

Semiconductor shortage and war in Ukraine cited as reasons for plant closure.

MINI’s Cowley factory in the UK has temporarily closed due to the combination of semiconductor chip ‘bottlenecks’ and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.

The closure is expected to last until Friday 18 March and MINI has said it is ‘assessing the situation and defining measures to secure production again as soon as possible’.

Mini Countryman PHEV 2021 2

The brand had previously said the supply situation for semiconductor components will remain difficult and that it can’t rule out the possibility of this impacting sales during the rest of the year.

In April 2021 the same semiconductor shortages affected the plant and production was halted for three days. The Cowley plant currently employs 3800 staff who will be affected by this week’s closure but there will be no impact to their pay. The site produces the MINI Hatch, both petrol powered and electric versions, and the Clubman wagon.

The semiconductor chip shortage is a global supply chain issue that has been affecting manufacturers around the world. The semiconductor is a key component in most modern car equipment, such as touchscreen infotainment systems, reversing cameras and air bags.

The shortage has been created by supply chain disruptions due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic started, manufacturers globally have had to temporarily close production facilities due to lockdown restrictions and a lack of parts, which has created a large backlog for new cars.

Alastair Crooks

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