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BMW axes 850 jobs at Mini factory

GERMAN car manufacturer BMW AG is cutting about 850 jobs at its Mini plant in Oxford, central England, as it scales back production in the wake of falling demand.

The company, which last year produced 235,000 cars at the plant ?? the only Mini factory ?? said it would now be operating five days a week instead of seven.

"While Mini has been weathering the economic downturn, it is not immune from the challenges of the current situation," the company said in a statement yesterday. A spokeswoman said that sales of the Mini had slumped 34.5 percent last month.

In recent months major car makers including Nissan, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover and Aston Martin have announced that more than 3,000 jobs will be cut in the United Kingdom, where more than 800,000 people work in the industry.

The UK government said last month it would guarantee up to 2.3 billion pounds (US$3.3 billion) of loans to help keep the car industry afloat.


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