BMW Plant Rosslyn is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, a fruitful period during which more than 1.6 million vehicles have been produced. To mark the milestone, the luxury brand announced earlier this year plans to build the next-generation X3 with a plug-in hybrid powertrain in South Africa. But what about purely electric cars? Well, they’re coming, eventually…
Speaking with Automotive News Europe, BMW Group South Africa CEO Peter van Binsbergen expressed his desire to make EVs in Rosslyn and ship them internationally: “We export 96% of our volume and a lot of it goes to Europe, which is switching to BEVs. We need to start producing them here to secure our production for the next generation. For us, the decision would need to be made near the end of this decade on whether we have a BEV in production next in Rosslyn.”
Plant Rosslyn has a special place in BMW history considering it was the first factory outside of Germany.The X3 has been in production in SA since 2018 when it replaced the 3er F30. BMW Group Plant Rosslyn is a local juggernaut as it employs nearly 23,000 people, directly and indirectly. The cars made there are being shipped to more than 40 countries, most of which are in Europe. Plant director Niklas Fichtmueller says it’s actually cheaper to assemble the X3 in South Africa than in Spartanburg, South Carolina, partly thanks to the South Africa-Germany free trade agreement.
BMW has announced several locations where it intends to build EVs on the Neue Klasse platform, starting with the Debrecen plant in Hungary from 2025. Factories in Munich, the United States, Mexico, and China will all assemble dedicated EVs in the latter half of the decade. It looks as though Plant Rosslyn could follow at a later date. It’s important to mention not all future electric cars from BMW will use the dedicated architecture as some will stick to CLAR, supposedly the iX5 and iX6 coming around 2027 and 2028, respectively.
Source: Automotive News Europe