Next-generation MINI Countryman production to be brought in-house due to pandemic disruptions

The F60-generation MINI Countryman facelift that was introduced in May this year will be the last one to be manufactured under contract by VDL Nedcar, the manufacturing outfit in Born, Netherlands that has made the Countryman since 2016, after its statement that the BMW Group will not be making subsequent orders for the model, and instead bring production of the Countryman in-house for that model’s next generation.

VDL Nedcar will continue to build current models for BMW, it said in its statement, however the third-party manufacturer will be looking to fill the production capacity that will become available as a result of the MINI Countryman’s departure from its lines in order to secure long-term employment at the Born facility. The decision was a response to a changing business environment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, said BMW.

The MINI Convertible and the BMW X1 are the other models built at the VDL Nedcar facility

“Unfortunately, we are unable to comply with VDL Nedcar’s request for the production of the MINI Countryman successor,” BMW said in a statement e-mailed to Automotive News Europe. “BMW emphatically states that VDL Nedcar’s quality, delivery reliability and competitiveness were not the basis for the decision,” the third-party manufacturer said.

At the time of the facelift model’s launch, the brand’s largest model accounted for 30% of MINI sales worldwide, with the model line having made its debut in 2010. VDL Nedcar built 174,097 vehicles for BMW in 2019, down from 211,660 in 2018, Automotive News Europe reported.

In addition to the Countryman, the Born plant currently produces the MINI Convertible and BMW X1. Production of the current Countryman would be halted in 2024 according to the Financial Times, the same year the MINI Convertible was reported to be coming to the end of its line in 2024 due to slowing sales.

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