Hundreds of jobs in Swindon have been safeguarded by the announcement BMW is investing £600 million into producing new electric Minis in the UK.

The German car giant revealed on Monday it is to spend a huge sum on upgrading its Oxford plant and building additional logistics facilities at the Swindon site so that a new generation of eco-friendly Mini Coopers and Mini Acemans can be produced in 2026.

More than 4,000 people currently work across the two sites, including 600 at the Bridge End Road factory in Swindon.

The news has been welcomed by the leader of Swindon Borough Council Jim Robbins and North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson.

Councillor Robbins said: "Really pleased to see the news of the BMW investment into Oxford’s Cowley plant.

"Hopefully that safeguards the 600 jobs in Swindon who supply the panels!"

The UK investment will be backed by funding from the government's Automotive Transformation Fund, which is understood to be worth £75m.

Conservative MP Mr Tomlinson said: "This is a very welcome boost to our growing local economy, securing 600 jobs at our local BMW plant.

"The government continues to proactively secure the long-term investment in this crucial section, backed by our £350m transformation fund to make sure we maintain our record employment rates."

News of the expected announcement broke on Monday morning and the car giant confirmed the decision later that afternoon during a visit to the Cowley plant.

Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch, who also visited the Oxfordshire site on Monday, refused to comment on speculation that the government funding was worth £75 million.

She told reporters: “I won’t comment on the figure because that creates difficulties in future negotiations.

“What I will say is that we do provide some subsidy, very light subsidy, in the auto industry because it faces so much difficulty, and some of that is regulatory.”

Swindon Advertiser: Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch poses next to the new Mini Cooper Electric at the BMW Mini plant at Cowley in OxfordTrade Secretary Kemi Badenoch poses next to the new Mini Cooper Electric at the BMW Mini plant at Cowley in Oxford (Image: PA)

The cabinet minister said car manufacturing around the world is “not a pure free trade market” so “we have to think very carefully about which industries you want in the UK”.

She added that support for BMW is part of the government’s automotive transformation fund, which it put £350 million into in 2021.

Prime minister Rishi Sunak said the government is securing jobs and growing the economy “by backing our car manufacturing industry”.

He added: “BMW’s investment is another shining example of how the UK is the best place to build cars of the future."

Addressing Ms Badenoch in a speech at the Oxford plant, BMW Group board member Dr Milan Nedeljkovic, said: “Without your support, this transformation would not be possible. This was the right move at the right time.”

BMW said it will invest a total of £600 million at the Oxford site and another Mini factory in Swindon, where vehicle body panels are made.

In Oxford, this will involve changes to production lines and the creation of a new area for installing batteries.

The new electric models will be assembled at the plant alongside conventionally-fuelled cars.

This move is seen as vital to securing the future of the factories as the brand is going fully electric from 2030, when Mini production in Oxford becomes exclusively electric.

Monday's news comes after BMW confirmed last week that it would be reducing the amount of temporary staff required in Oxford due to a change in shift pattern as it phases out old vehicle models and builds up to new ones in the new year.

A spokesperson for the car giant said that it is doing everything possible to retain as many people as possible within the business and did not comment on whether the shift would affect jobs in Swindon.

Swindon Advertiser: Minis on the production line in BMW's Oxfordshire plant.Minis on the production line in BMW's Oxfordshire plant. (Image: PA)