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Four million speaker covers – 70 years of history

As the UK celebrates news that MINI will build their fully electric model in Cowley, we are considering a party of our own after reaching a manufacturing milestone of four million speaker covers.

While both achievements are very different in terms of magnitude and social impact, there is something romantic about the coincidental timing of both events, with the two companies having shared moments in their two very different histories.  

Created by Sir Alec Issigonis in 1959, the very first Mini models were released as the Morris Mini Minor and Austin Seven. It wasn't until 1961 that it was renamed Austin Mini, and eight years after that Mini became a marque in its own right.

Designed with its transverse-engine, front-wheel drive and incredibly compact dimensions, the Mini revolutionised the small car, and it soon became the best-selling British car in history with a production run of 5.3 million units.

During its lifespan, the original Mini was produced at various factories, before being acquired in 1994 following BMW's purchase of The Rover Group, with development on the all-new MINI starting soon after.

Throughout the 21st century, MINI has managed to maintain its classic image, while developing new models and concepts to stay competitive in the ever-expanding automotive industry, with a current line-up of some five variants.

While Mini was busy establishing itself as Britain's most iconic car, Borough Plating was producing the components and parts used to manufacture the industry's most loved vehicles.  

Established in 1947 as Borough Polishing & Plating, we committed ourselves to the innovation, design and creation of stylish components that would reflect the revolutionary engineering of renowned manufacturers like MINI.

In the 1960's, our MD, David Coombes pioneered the switch from plating metal to plating plastics - a practice that was soon recognised by the booming automotive industry for its consistently high-quality finish at an equally attractive price.

Starting with radio and television control knobs, our plating quality was attracting work away from vacuum-deposited chrome, which had nowhere near the durability of electroplated chrome.

At that time, Mini was one of the best-selling cars around and they were beginning to use a lot of chrome-plated components. We began supplying chrome-plated plastic lamp surrounds for them which was a huge boost for our business, and the start of a very long relationship with the automotive sector. 

As the inside style of cars became more important, we found ourselves approached by numerous high-profile automotive companies asking for chromed interior components.

Like Mini, we were slowly building a reputation as an innovative British manufacturing company that had a passion for creating the highest quality of products possible.

Our company continued to grow throughout the remainder of the 20th century, and with it so too did our offering. In 1985 Borough set up its own injection moulding workshop, allowing us to meet the 'mould & plate' demand of major automotive clients.

By 1999 we had installed and commissioned a fully automated plating plant to meet the growing demand for our services; a total investment of more than £2million.

Our expansion proved to be a great success, now boasting a team of more than 80 dedicated professionals we continue to deliver some of the highest quality moulded and plated parts available to the automotive industry, working with some of the most recognised and celebrated marques in the world.

Creating the four millionth speaker cover is a fantastic manufacturing achievement for the company, make no mistakes about it.

However, I believe it's the sentimental value of the milestone that makes this so special, as it reminds us of our journey from humble beginnings to working with some of the biggest names in automotive history.

As MINI begin manufacturing their new electric model, we will start working towards the production of our five millionth speaker cover - creating more history as two British-born automotive companies. 

Written by David Brereton at 08:16

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