Thursday 6th April – coach trip to the BMW Mini factory at Cowley

41 members and guests boarded our coach the the Hamworthy Club, we stopped at Rownhams services to pick up four members of the Morris owners club who have often joined us on our coach trips. Driving to Abingdon was uneventful and was our first stop, for a late breakfast / early lunch and the chance to visit the Town Hall museum which has a collection of MG memorabilia and one of the last MG roadsters to come off the production line from the MG factory. Back on the coach and onward to Cowley, a short 30 minute journey. On arrival we had the opportunity to look around the small display of cars covering the story from the start of production of the Mini to date. After being placed in groups of 15 we were signed in given a hi-vis jacket and whisked off in a mini bus to start the factory tour. The tour covered the assembly hall where the various body parts and panels came together for welding together by robots, there are 1000 robots used in the factory. Leaving this building we were again transported by mini bus to the final assembly building where we were able to see the assembly of  engines, trim , seats and wheels etc. into the painted bodies. All components used are on a ‘just in time’ basis, should there be a disruption in supply the complete line comes to a standstill.  On completion of the build all vehicles are tested automatically for operation of all electrical, hydraulic and power systems, they are then driven off the line at a rate of one car every 67 seconds (1000 each day total) . BMW have two trains which move 750 cars each day from their own siding alongside the final assembly building. The investment made by BMW is very easy to see and is reflected in the quality of the product. A very interesting trip organised for us by Chris Adamson.