Automotive News reports on BMW’s plans to reorganize its global production network into factories that build only rear-wheel drive cars and others that produce front-wheel drive cars. The scope of this process is to reduce costs.
BMW calls this effort “Manufacturing 4.0” and will include higher digitalization, improved logistics and more vehicle assembly using robots.
“Our aim is to reduce production costs by 5 percent year over year,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW’s manufacturing chief. “Streamlining platform allocation is a crucial element in attaining this goal,” Zipse added.
Globally, BMW operates 10 factories, including plants in England and the Netherlands that build MINI and Rolls-Royce vehicles. Some plants – like the one in Leipzig – build a combination of front-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars. In future four plants will build only FWD vehicles and five will build only RWD vehicles. BMW’s plant in Tiexi, China will continue to build both types of vehicles.
Leipzig and Regensburg will move in the future to production of only FWD vehicles. Regensburg currently builds nine different models on three platforms, but within three years, the plant will handle only FWD cars. The Leipzig plant will convert to FWD models only within four years, but it will keep a dedicated area to build models for i sub-brand.
The reorganization will streamline the assembly process and the flow of inbound components, Zipse said.