California Autos Examiner

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Mini factory tour

When we visited London earlier this year, my wife and I took a side trip to Oxford to take the Mini factory tour. I made arrangements via e-mail and all they asked for was for three British pounds which went to a local charity. We took the Oxford Tube a bus service from Buckingham Palace Road to downtown Oxford (a lot cheaper than the train) and then a local bus out to the plant.

Before starting the tour we had to don orange jumpsuits. The tour is a complete one, unlike some plants where the body had already been assembled and painted.

Lot's of sparks on the assembly floor where all the welding is taking place. We didn't get to see the painting facility, but we did see a video about it. I thought it was interesting that they inject wax into some of the body cavities and then roll the car around to allow the wax to flow into all the crevices as rust proofing technique. The remaining assembly of the car is pretty straightforward with components being snapped into place by teams as the cars march down the line.

It's fairly quiet and very clean on the assembly line with parts being constantly being delivered by forklifts. A great chance to see all the various paint colors that are available. All that plus a free beverage vending machine in the waiting room (I love free vending machines). What's not to love?

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