Every 20 seconds a brand new car rolls off a production line somewhere in Britain and approximately every fourth car built in the UK is a built-to-order MINI.
On the evenings of Tuesday 20 and Wednesday 21 October at 19.30 BBC2 will broadcast live from behind the scenes at one of the biggest and busiest car factories in the country: the BMW Group MINI plant in Oxford.
Over two nights they’ll reveal the science, the engineering and meet the people that produce almost 1000 MINIs in Oxford every day. The three presenters, James May, Ant Anstead and Kate Humble will follow the building of a MINI from start to finish in a little over 24 hours.
Building Cars Live will also visit other car manufacturers across the UK to explore the evolution of global mass car production and look at Britain’s burgeoning automotive sector.
The programme will take a detailed look at the MINI plant, its 102 year history and the high-tech and innovative manufacturing processes involved in building cars in Oxford and exporting them to over 110 markets around the world. It will examine how a MINI starts life as a roll of steel at the sister-plant in Swindon, then makes its way through the state of the art body shop where it is pieced together with up to 6000 welds, then through the paint process, into assembly and finally through a series of detailed diagnostic tests.
Most importantly the myth that all modern manufacturing is carried out by robots will be dispelled as the programme examines the skills, training and teamwork that puts people at the heart of modern car building. A range of the plant’s 4000 employees will explain their jobs to the presenters demonstrating everything from producing the body, to the paint process, final assembly and the detailed quality testing in the climate chamber and on the test track.
Building Cars Live will also step outside the MINI plant to explore the 56 year history of the iconic MINI brand. It will examine the evolution of global mass production, consumer car buying behaviour and meet MINI designers to see how car design evolves in line with safety, technology and global fashion.
Since the MINI brand was relaunched by the BMW Group in 2001 over three million MINIs have been sold worldwide in over 110 countries. The UK is the biggest MINI market, followed by the USA, Germany, China and France.