First SA-made BMW X3 shipped out

Johannesburg – BMW South Africa has shipped its first production of X3 models which have been assembled at its Rosslyn plant for export markets, the company said on Monday.

The German car manufacturer said more than 100 units of “proudly South African BMW cars” were on Friday transported by train to the port of Durban.

Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, described the shipment as “a big moment for us at BMW Group SA”.

“It’s the result of a R6.1bn investment in the country and the culmination of three years of hard work and planning,” said Abbott in a statement.

“It’s really exciting to know that BMW Group's Rosslyn plant has joined the enormous success story of BMW’s X models globally,  and goes to show the power of combining good industrial policy and foreign investment.”

The vehicles are destined for European markets.

In late 2015, BMW announced a R6.1bn investment for production of the new generation BMW X3. It replaced the 3-Series production which had been moved to Mexico. 

The investment was seen as one of the biggest in the local automotive sector. 

The Rosslyn plant in February 2018 produced the last of 1 191 604 BMW 3-Series cars built over five model generations and 35 years.

The plant, located north of Pretoria, was initially designed to accommodate a maximum capacity of 71 000 BMW X3 units a year. However, the number has been ramped up by almost 10% to 76 000 a year, due to high demand.

“Within this maximum capacity, BMW Group SA is confident that the plant will produce record volumes next year. This will add to the growing success of BMW’s X models across the world, which now make up more than 30% of BMW’s global volume,” the company said in a statement.

BMW in April opened a regional car parts distribution centre in Midrand, which holds up to 600 000 motor parts for timeous delivery to 56 dealers across the region.

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