Compared to most brands, MINI had an exceptional year in 2008, with a 28 percent increase in U.S. sales. In other parts of the world last year, however, things didn't turn out as well, with sales dropping overall – particularly in the latter half of the year.

In response to the downturn, BMW slashing production at its UK factories. The company has laid off 850 temporary workers at its main assembly plant in Oxford, and it is cutting back from a three shift, seven day a week production schedule to two shifts and five days a week. The moves are causing controversy in the UK because the laid off workers received only one hour of notice. Normally in the EU, workers are given more warning of impending cutbacks, but that courtesy doesn't apply to temporary workers brought in through employment agencies – even if they have been working there for several years. Prior to the cuts, MINI employed 4,500 people in the UK.

[Source: BBC]

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