Car makers these days have to find ways to diversify their offerings a bit. Sales are slumping and the unhindered advancement of self-driving cars might pose an existential threat. Therefore, alternatives are needed. We know some are also in the business of making clothes and various such articles or even sausages (Volkswagen being one of the biggest sausage makers in the world) but how about peanuts?

Well, watch out world, as BMW has apparently set up a rather large peanut plantation, right next to its plant in China, in collaboration with local company Brilliance Automotive (BBA). The plantation sits on the southern side of the plant and covers an area of 13,000 square meters. The idea came to Flora Zhu, a Senior Manager with Utility and Facility Management some two years ago, the when Battery Center construction kicked off.

“We wanted to create a more diverse, greener and more natural environment for our associates and at the same time make sensible use of existing land. So when we celebrated the official groundbreaking for the new Battery Center in 2018, we had lots of other smaller groundbreakings for the peanut plantation as well, where we planted the first peanut kernels in long rows. As our new Battery Center grew and took shape, so did the first peanut plants. They flourished – as did the sense of community among associates,” said Zhu about this new venture.

Apparently, the hot summers and high humidity in Shenyang provide ideal climatic conditions for such activities and the culture is already successful. The first harvest, back in 2018, already produced 2,000 kg of peanuts from a plantation almost the size of two football fields.

This year’s harvest was a staggering 3,200 kg. The plantation is taken care of by associates, throughout the season, from May to September. This apparently helps them bond and creates a positive impact on their organizational culture.

Besides that, a primary focus of the project is to make a sustainable contribution to the society. Every October, associates organize charity events at BBA’s three plants, where the homegrown peanuts are among the goods on sale to colleagues. The proceeds go to local communities to support infrastructure projects.