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Multi-billion dollar build plans for BMW on track

Seventh heaven: new technology – like the CFRP panels aboard the BMW 7 Series – are made in BMW’s Landshut plant in Germany, which will be expanded in 2016.

Two millionth car for 2015 already built as BMW preps US, German plants for growth

BMW logo21 Dec 2015

By TIM ROBSON

MORE than five billion dollars will be spent by BMW in the next four years upgrading plants and building new factories around the world.

As part of an investment strategy announced in 2014, the German premium car-maker will turn the first sods on $2.1 billion greenfields site in Mexico in January, while another $2 billion is earmarked for upgrading the company’s huge Spartanburg plant in South Carolina.

A new body-in-white line is currently under construction at the site, which churns out 400,000 BMWs a year, making it BMW’s most productive site in the world.

Another $500 million is being ploughed into SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers in Moses Lake, Washington, which manufactures raw carbon fabric for BMW in a joint venture operation.

The new Mexican facility, in the central state of San Luis Potosi, will be capable of outputting 150,000 cars a year when it comes on stream in 2019 and will employ 1500 people, according to BMW.

The company joins the likes of Audi, Daimler and Nissan in new capital works in Mexico. The country currently ranks eighth in the world for automobile production, thanks to generous free-trade agreements with the US and low wage conditions for factory workers.

Almost one billion dollars, meanwhile, is being spent on the company’s ‘home’ plant in Munich on a new paint line, an expansion of body-in-white manufacturing capability, as well as investment in the areas of assembly and logistics.

The updates complement a multi hundred-billion dollar investment in the Landshut plant, including the construction of a ‘lightweight centre’ which is due to finish in 2016.

More than $700 million has also been spent on CFRP technology at its Dingolfing site since 2012.

Member of the board of management of BMW AG Oliver Zipse said the investment in building facilities is necessary to up BMW’s production game.

“This move is going to take the productivity of our production network to a whole new level,” he said.

“By focusing on one architecture, the plants can increase efficiency while reducing complexity. We aim at implementing this process as we introduce our new models over the next three years.”

Meanwhile, BMW Australia is currently riding 12 per cent above its 2014 sales total, logging 23,320 to the end of November. Its Mini subsidiary is also up in 2015 on the back of its new range of cars, posting a 38 per cent uptick over 2014 with 3064 sales to the end of November.

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