Contrary to reports last week that the new MINI Monte 4X4 would be built at BMW's Spartanburg, NC assembly plant, it now looks like it will stay in Europe. A BMW spokesman has told Automotive News that the contract has gone to Magna-Steyr, confirming a report in the main Frankfurt newspaper. The new MINI will take the place of the X3 at Magna's plant in Graz, Austria. X3 production is moving from Graz to the Spartanburg plant.

UPDATE
: The official announcement from BMW that production of the MINI Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) will be built at Magna-Steyr is after the jump.

[Source: Automotive News - Sub. req'd]

MINI SPORTS ACTIVITY VEHICLE WILL BE BUILT BY MAGNA STEYR
12/05/2007

Partnership in Development and Production
Munich. The new MINI Sports Activity Vehicle (SAV) will be built by Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik in Graz, Austria. The vehicle concept, devised by MINI Design and BMW Group engineers, has been entrusted to Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik for series development and for later production.

The cooperation with Magna Steyr is an efficient way for BMW Group to ensure the planned profitable growth through new model launches set out in the company's strategic alignment.

By outsourcing production of the MINI SAV, BMW Group is able to increase flexibility within its own production network. This allows the lead plant for MINI production in Oxford to fully direct its midterm capacity of 260,000 units towards meeting demand for the three core models MINI, MINI Convertible and MINI Clubman. It is this outsourcing of MINI SAV production that makes the extension of the MINI family possible. Frank-Peter Arndt, Head of Production and Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, explains the advantages: "By using Magna Steyr for production, we are able to give our own Production Network some breathing space to respond fully to market needs. This solution will also allow us to bring the MINI SAV to the market as quickly as possible."

Magna Steyr is an experienced partner of BMW Group, having already produced the highly successful BMW X3. Speaking about the new contract, Siegfried Wolf, co-CEO of Magna International, sees this as a "huge recognition of the work that Magna Steyr has achieved so far through its partnership with BMW Group. Above all, I'm delighted for our employees, as this will allow us to set another milestone in our long-running and successful cooperation with BMW Group. As we have done before, we will work on this vehicle programme with our fullest commitment to ensure that we meet BMW Group's high expectations."

As with all partnerships, BMW Group itself will be steering all aspects concerning the brand and the concept of the MINI SAV project. Thus, the majority of the drive train development will be realised by BMW. In addition, BMW Group will design the supply contracts with the suppliers whilst Magna will be responsible for call-offs during series production. The MINI designers will ensure that the vehicle will be a true MINI.

Further details about the product and production will be communicated prior to the vehicle's market launch.


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