340" alt="MINI MOTY 05 450 pr photo" hspace="4" src="http://www.weblogsinc.com/common/images/3060000000054080.JPG?0.3388217289057427" width="450" align="top" vspace="4" border="1" />

MINI was announced Monday as Autocar magazine's Manufacturer of the Year for 2005, beating out runners-up Vauxhall, Bentley and Kia.

The BWM Group factory at Oxford has been cranking out the iconic British car at a furious rate, building its 500,000th vehicle nearly two years ahead of schedule. The MINI brand is a highlight of the British economy, exported to 70 markets worldwide.

In accepting the award, Dr. Anton Heiss, BMW Group's Managing Director for Plant Oxford, credited the "hard work, flexibility and commitment to quality" of the 4,500 staff at the Oxford facility.

[Source: BMW Group]

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