Take a peek inside BMW’s Plant Rosslyn production facility

To celebrate 50 years of BMW Plant Rosslyn, take a peek inside the state-of-the-art manufacturing facility just outside Pretoria.

Plant Rosslyn’s history is crucial to the South African and German motoring sectors, although the facility was established before BMW’s ownership in 1973 – it signalled the first for the German automaker outside its home country, intertwining both countries’ motoring heritages significantly. Initially serving as a platform for BMW to produce German Glas vehicles with the Bavarian badge, the facility amalgamated into one of South Africa’s motoring gems, creating revered icons and serving as a significant part of local exports for the BMW Group.

Models produced here include the rebadged Glas, also known as the BMW 2000 SA, BMW 2004 SA, the BMW 3 Series and the current production of the BMW X3. In its formative years, the 5 Series was also birthed at the facility while the special 745i also calls the South African plant home. While Plant Rosslyn was the first of its kind outside of Germany 50 years ago, it now serves as one of 29 plants located across 15 different countries on different continents. This includes North American, South American, European, and Asian facilities.

In the 1990s however, is where BMW Plant Rosslyn began to shine with ramped-up production for export as a result of the first OEM to receive ISO 9002 Quality Certification which subsequently led to the JD Power & Assosciates European Award shortly thereafter. This was courtesy of the beginning of a R12.6b investment (which concluded with the upgrade for the current X3), a number which has aided the German manufacturer of achieving R163b worth of exports over the past 10 years. Since 1994, 1 049 830 vehicles have been exported from Plant Rosslyn while since its inception 1.2 million 3 Series have come to life at the facility. The most recent addition to BMW’s illustrious production history in South Africa is the X3, with the SUV alone requiring a R6b investment to ensure the facility remains as state-of-the-art as any other BMW facility around the world.

Courtesy of a high level of precise automation, the 320 000 square meter facility runs three eight-hour shifts throughout the day ensuring maximum production. This allows for a 76 700 annual production capacity with the vast majority of locally produced X3s finding homes in both left-hand-drive and right-hand-drive markets around the world (only 4.1% of local production enters South African roads). In 2021, BMW Plant Rosslyn and its X3s accounted for 12.5% of South Africa’s total exports as well as 60% of the local light vehicle production exports in the same year.

Plant Rosslyn

Read the original story on CAR Magazine.

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