BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) has invested an additional R160-million in its Rosslyn manufacturing facility, outside Pretoria, to enhance production line speed.
This investment raises the maximum production capacity at the plant by almost 10%, from 71 000 units to 76 000 units a year, ensuring the plant has the potential to produce the highest volume ever in its 44-year history.
The additional funding comes on the back of a R6-billion investment announced in November 2015 for the BMW Rosslyn plant to produce the new BMW X3.
Production of the X3 at the Rosslyn plant will start in the first half of 2018.
The first test units have already rolled off the production line.
The Rosslyn plant previously produced several generations of the 3 Series sedan for the local and export markets.
The plant will continue to build the current 3 Series until early next year.
Production at the Rosslyn plant reached 63 000 units in 2016.
“We are greatly encouraged by the amazing performance of our BMW X-models around the world,” says BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa CEO Tim Abbott.
“This growth trend supports our decision to produce the BMW X3 in South Africa. The potential for the future is exciting, as, ultimately, production volume is determined by global demand for our products.”
The BMW X-models are known as sports activity vehicles within the German brand. They accounted for more than 30% of total global sales for the brand in 2016.
The BMW X3 specifically accounted for more than 24% of global BMW X-model range sales.
The made-in-South Africa BMW X3 will be produced for the local market and, in addition, will be exported to Europe, to more than 25 markets, such as the UK, France and Germany.
This means the US will no longer be an export market for BMW SA, as is the case with the current 3 Series.
BMW SA is confident the BMW X3 will have higher local parts content than the current BMW 3 Series.
The company’s newly built training facility will open in the next few months.