africa|electrification|engineering|supply chain|technology|training

BMW to invest R4.2bn to produce new X3, including plug-in hybrid, in South Africa

14th July 2023

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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BMW will invest R4.2-billion over the next five years in its Rosslyn plant in South Africa to build the new-generation X3 sports-activity vehicle, including a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV).

South Africa will be the exclusive global supplier of the X3 PHEV, with internal combustion engine production to be added to the fold only later in the product’s life cycle.

Production of the PHEV will start in the second half of next year, with the first prototype vehicles already rolling off the assembly line in Pretoria.

The PHEV will also be on sale in South Africa.

The Rosslyn plant this year celebrates its fiftieth anniversary. It was the European premium carmaker’s first wholly owned plant outside Germany.

BMW management board member for production and BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) chairperson Dr Milan Nedeljković says the next step for the South African plant will be battery electric vehicles (BEVs).

“By preparing for PHEVs, we are setting the path for electrification.”

Nedeljković says PHEV production will require some structural preparation within the plant, as well as skills training.

He adds that flexibility is key to BMW’s global success, especially the ability to assembly different derivatives on a single assembly line, as is currently the case with Rosslyn producing the current X3, as well as the initial prototypes of the fourth-generation X3.

“We are committed to transformation and our associates’ skills development with the implementation of a plantwide training programme for the new model,” says Rosslyn plant director Dr Niklas Fichtmüller.

“More than 300 BMW Plant Rosslyn associates will receive specialised training to support the production of the next-generation BMW X3 PHEV.”

About 20 000 people are directly and indirectly employed at BMW SA’s facilities and within its supply chain.

More than 1.6-million vehicles have been manufactured at the Rosslyn plant to date and exported to more than 40 countries worldwide, including 14 African countries.

The production portfolio in Rosslyn has included the BMW 1800 SA and BMW 2000 SA, as well as BMW 5 Series and BMW 7 Series vehicles.

Rosslyn was an important pillar for the production of the BMW 3 Series from 1983 until 2018, when the BMW X3, the best-selling BMW vehicle in South Africa, started rolling off the assembly line.

PHEV production at Rosslyn will make the X3 the second PHEV model to be produced locally by any of South Africa’s seven vehicle manufacturers, with one mild hybrid also in production. No BEVs are produced in South Africa.

BMW has also announced a donation of R30-million to support a United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) programme.

The BMW Group and Unicef will embark on a joint effort targeted at thousands of South African primary and secondary school learners to extend and deepen their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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