BMW’s first car factory outside of Germany was founded in March 1973 in Rosslyn, located outside the capital city of Pretoria in South Africa. Fast forward to March 2023, the automaker is celebrating half a century since the first cars rolled off the assembly line. In the 50 years that have passed, BMW has produced more than 1.6 million vehicles.
BMW Group Plant Rosslyn was home to some truly special cars not built elsewhere as the 2000 SA, 745i, 530 MLE, 333i, and the 325iS were all born there. Another milestone was recently achieved when the 300,000th X3 was assembled at the plant.
BMW made the 3 Series for over 30 years during which it assembled 1,191,604 cars spanning five generations, before transitioning to the X3 in 2018. Codenamed G01, the third-generation crossover is exported to 40 markets, including 14 African countries. Most of the vehicles manufactured in Rosslyn are sold outside of South Africa.
Aside from making crossovers, the facility also includes a Training Academy inaugurated in 2018 to help workers improve their skills. In addition, there’s also a Retailer Training Center that went operational in 2019 to assist local retailers. As of 2023, BMW Group Plant Rosslyn, directly and indirectly, employs nearly 23,000 people.
Later this year, BMW will make an announcement to express its long-term commitment to the Rosslyn factory. It remains to be seen whether it’ll have anything to do with the new wave of electric vehicles based on the Neue Klasse platform. The new Debrecent plant in Hungary will get the ball rolling for NE-based models from 2025, with Munich to follow in 2026. The Spartanburg plant in South Carolina as well as the San Luis Potosi factory in Mexico will also make EVs in the latter half of the decade.
Note: Attached below is a special logo created by South African artist Esther Mahlangu. It highlights BMW Group Plant Rosslyn’s 50th anniversary and will be used throughout the year for all events pertaining to the celebrations surrounding the milestone.