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The BBC's Industry Correspondent, Steve Evans
"They were built as a family car"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 4 October, 2000, 08:52 GMT 09:52 UK
End of the Mini
Mini old and new
There have been 137 versions of the Mini in total
After 41 years of continuous production and more than five million cars built, the classic Mini has come to the end of the road.

Production of the compact car finished on Wednesday at the MG Rover Group factory in Longbridge, Birmingham.

Twiggy and Mini
Sixties supermodel Twiggy is a fan
There have been nearly 140 different models of the car since it was first introduced in 1959, as an economy vehicle in the wake of the Suez oil crisis.

BMW will produce a new version of the Mini at the Cowley works in Oxford.

Many of those involved in the production of the Mini across six decades attended the end of production ceremony at Longbridge on Wednesday.

Sixties icon Lulu drove the final car off the production line.

Mini factfile
The first Mini cost just 496 after tax.
A Mini 2000 now costs about 8,500.
The Mini became the star of the Monte Carlo rallies in the 1960s.
Fashion queen Mary Quant designed the interior of a limited edition Mini in June 1966.
Named car of the century by Autocar magazine in November 1995.
137 versions of the car have appeared since 1959.

The move to end classic Mini production at Longbridge and switch it to Cowley was decided after BMW sold Rover to the Phoenix Consortium earlier this year.

Originally designed by engineer Sir Alec Issigonis, the Mini was intended as an economic rival to German bubble cars, in the years after the 1956 Suez Crisis.

Hailed as one of Britain's greatest design achievements, the Mini was immortalised in the film The Italian Job, starring Michael Caine.

Celebrities who have expressed their admiration for the car include former Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger, actor Peter Sellers, model Twiggy, comedian Spike Milligan and newsreader Angela Rippon.

New Mini

The new BMW Mini, which goes on sale from next year, enjoyed critical acclaim when it was unveiled at last week's Paris Motor Show.

Mini and model
The new Mini has a lot to live up to
It will first be seen in Britain at this year's Motor Show, at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham later this month.

Longbridge will start production of the Rover 75, which was previously built at the Cowley plant in Oxford.

But output is to be cut by almost 75%, it has been reported.

Rover has told The Daily Telegraph that it intends to build 3,000 Rover 75s at Longbridge in the final three months of the year, just a quarter of the 1,000 cars a week produced at Cowley.

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See also:

28 Sep 00 | Business
The Mini finally grows
10 May 00 | Business
Rover looks to future
06 Sep 00 | Business
Jaguar, Rover do poorly in polls
12 May 00 | Business
What's left of the UK car industry
16 May 00 | Business
BMW mauled by shareholders
14 Aug 99 | UK
Big bash for little car
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