Page last updated at 11:28 GMT, Tuesday, 14 October 2008 12:28 UK

Concern over Mini weekend closure

A Mini in production at the Cowley plant
The Cowley plant is where BMW manufactures the Mini

Union bosses have expressed concern at the planned weekend closure of the Oxfordshire-based Mini factory.

It is thought to be only the second time in seven years a closure has been made outside of usual holiday periods.

BMW, the company which owns Mini's Cowley plant, denied the closure was due to a fall in production and said it was to adjust shift patterns.

But Unite's Bernard Moss said he was worried about what the closure could mean for the workers' future.

The company has stressed it is not looking to make cuts.

'Global decline'

But Mr Moss said all industry was being affected by the credit crunch.

"It would be unique for the Mini to escape what's going on - in that respect it's no surprise.

"There's a global decline in car manufacturing and we're feeling the effects," he said.

Rebecca Baxter, a spokeswoman for Mini, denied the closure was anything to worry about.

"We have already produced and sold more than 184,000 which is actually 12.1% more than last year," she said.

"One of the great strengths of mini production is that we have a really flexible three-shift system and since the very start in 2001 we've adjusted the shift patterns and shift lengths in order to meet the market demand - sometimes week by week."

UK Mini sales have fallen by a fifth on the same time last year, but there has been an increase in US sales.

Less than 35,000 have been sold this year compared with 36,969 in the first nine months of 2007.

BMW forecasts that 237,000 cars will have been produced by the end of the year which is about the same as a last year.




SEE ALSO
UK Mini sales fall by one fifth
07 Oct 08 |  Oxfordshire
New car registrations fall by 21%
06 Oct 08 |  Business
Car firms see sales plunge in US
02 Oct 08 |  Business
New car sales 'hit by downturn'
04 Sep 08 |  Business
Toyota cuts car sales forecasts
28 Aug 08 |  Business
Rising living costs hit car sales
04 Jul 08 |  Business
Laid-off BMW staff to resume work
16 Jun 08 |  Oxfordshire
Millionth Mini produced in Oxford
04 Apr 07 |  Business

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific