BMW South Africa just announced a purchase of about 30,000 square meters next to its Rosslyn plant, with the goal of expanding production in the next few years. According to officials speaking to CNBC Africa, the new facility will be able to produce X3 models that will be exported to Sub-Saharan countries offering more choices for potential customers.
With its impeccable track record, the Rosslyn plant will become an even more important player in the grand scheme of things. The 3 Series range has been built over there since 1983 as Rosslyn has won a succession of global quality awards. As a matter of fact, in 2015, the 3 Series cars made there were judged the best imports in the US.
About 80 percent of all cars made in South Africa by BMW are being exported but that still limits the plant to a small range of possibilities. With the new shop, these compromises would no longer be needed according to the plant manager, Tim Abbott. “We no longer have to make compromises. With the X3, we believe we have a vehicle that resonates with [Sub-Saharan] countries.”
“This bodyshop will be a state of the art facility, not only just in South Africa but across the world. It means job creation and it will mean upscaling for our staff as well. The X3 is more of a relevant car for markets in Nigeria and Kenya so we will look to export form here to Sub-Sahara[n Africa]. This is the first for BMW,” he added in an interview for CNBC.
The construction work is expected to be completed in 2017 and is part of the $377 million BMW invested in the country recently, so that it can enlarge the manufacturing capacity of the Rosslyn plant. After the building is finished, about 300 state-of-the-art robots will be installed accounting for an increase of about 50 percent in numbers. As for the production of the 3 Series, this will continue at least until the end of its current production run, in 2019.