BMW lays off 850 workers at Mini plant, cuts back production

It seems like even compact cars aren’t safe in this economic downturn. BMW announced today that it has laid of 850 workers and has cut back production at its Cowley factory that builds Mini Cooper models. BMW said the move was made due to weaker demand for the compact hatchbacks.

The Cowley factory, which employs 4,700 workers and turns out 800 units per day, will have production suspended this week. Staff who normally work weekend shifts will be moved to weekday work starting March 2.

In a statement, BMW said that while “Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation.” The German automaker said that union representatives have been involved in the discussions and that the decision has not been taken lightly.

BMW sales rose 4.3 percent to 232,425 cars in 2008. However, January 2008 sales were down 35 percent compared to the same period in 2007.

Source: Detroit News