HomeBusinessMini's UK car factory closed until 18 March due to chip shortage

Mini’s UK car factory closed until 18 March due to chip shortage


Mini’s car factory in Oxford closes again until 18 March due to ongoing shortage of semiconductors and disruption from war in Ukraine

  • Cowley factory closed from 7 to 18 March – second closure in as many months
  • Ongoing chip supply issues and conflict in Ukraine behind latest shut down
  • All staff members – 3,800 people – will receive full pay during the ‘stand down’
  • Mini was the UK’s third biggest car maker in 2021 producing 186,762 vehicles

Production of Mini cars in the UK has been suspended for the second time in as many months, as the manufacturer continues to be crippled by the shortage of semiconductor chips.

The brand, owned by BMW, said a combination of ‘bottlenecked’ computer chips and disruption from the conflict in Ukraine resulted in the decision to close the Cowley factory in Oxford for almost two weeks from last Monday.

The assembly line shutdown is expected to last until Friday 18 March, with Mini bosses saying they are ‘assessing the situation and defining measures to secure production again as soon as possible’.

A combination of semiconductor shortages and disruption from the war in Ukraine has seen Mini take the decision to close its UK factory in Oxford for almost two weeks  

A spokesperson told the Oxford Mail earlier this week: ‘The war in Ukraine has a significant impact on the country’s automotive supply industry.

‘Combined with the ongoing semiconductor bottlenecks, these supply limitations mean further adjustments to the Plant Oxford production schedule are required.’  

They added that all staff members – believed to be around 3,800 people – will receive full pay during the ‘stand down’.

Mini was the UK’s third biggest car maker in 2021, producing 186,762 vehicles in total during the year. 

Only Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan build more motors in Britain than the iconic brand. 

It last closed the Oxford facility for a five-day period from 21 to 25 February as a consequence of not having access to enough semiconductor chips to keep assembly lines running at maximum capacity.

The Cowley plant currently employs around 3,800 staff, though reports claim the closure during the week will be no impact to their pay

The Cowley plant currently employs around 3,800 staff, though reports claim the closure during the week will be no impact to their pay 

It is not the first time the lack of supply of computer chips has halted assembly lines at the Oxford facility, with Mini forced to pause outputs for five days in February

It is not the first time the lack of supply of computer chips has halted assembly lines at the Oxford facility, with Mini forced to pause outputs for five days in February

Mini was also forced to pause outputs for three days across April and May last year for the same issue.

The site produces the Mini Hatch, including the Mini Electric, as well as the Clubman estate.

The shortage of semiconductor chips has affected all vehicle manufacturers, and has been blamed for limiting the industry’s recovery from the pandemic.

It has also caused second-hand car prices to spiral in the last nine months.

Those unable to get their hands on a new Mini, who have instead turned to the used market will find that a three-year-old petrol Cooper model with 30,000 miles on the clock will cost 37 per cent – or £4,055 – more than a year ago.

> Read our latest exclusive report on record second-hand car prices 

Mini was the UK's third biggest car maker in 2021, producing 186,762 vehicles in total during the year

Mini was the UK’s third biggest car maker in 2021, producing 186,762 vehicles in total during the year 

The site produces the Mini Hatch, including the Mini Electric (pictured), as well as the Clubman estate

The site produces the Mini Hatch, including the Mini Electric (pictured), as well as the Clubman estate

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