BMW will be investing R4.2 billion over five years to prepare its manufacturing plant in Rosslyn in Pretoria for the electro mobility era.
Fifty years ago, Plant Rosslyn was the BMW Group’s first foreign facility.
It has since become a mainstay of the global production network.
To mark its silver jubilee, Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production, has now announced the electrification of Plant Rosslyn.
Speaking in South Africa, he said: “From 2024 we will manufacture the BMW X3 as a plug-in hybrid for global export in South Africa. An investment of 4.2 billion rand (over 200 million euros) will ready Plant Rosslyn for electromobility.”
The investment will be accompanied by specialist training for more than 300 employees at the plant.
Plant Rosslyn has produced more than 1.6 million vehicles to date and exported them to more than 40 countries worldwide, including 14 nations in Africa.
Its production portfolio has included the BMW 1800 SA and BMW 2000 SA as well as the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series.
For decades it was a cornerstone of BMW 3 Series production, and it has been manufacturing the BMW X3 since 2018 – the best-selling BMW.
Its establishment marked the start of BMW’s globalisation.
Today, the BMW Group sells vehicles in more than 140 countries around the world and operates manufacturing facilities in 15.
Nedeljković, who is also Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW South Africa, emphasised that the BMW Group does more than just make cars in the country: “In South Africa we have not just set up a plant that offers employment and contributes to the country’s industrialisation; for the last 50 years, we have also demonstrated the meaning of social responsibility.”
Also important to the BMW Group is the issue of resource conservation. Since 2015 Plant Rosslyn has sourced part of its energy from a nearby biogas plant (Bio2Watt), steadily reducing its CO2 footprint.
It also partners various organisations so that the waste it produces is reused instead of being disposed of. Together with Envirolite, for example, it ensures that scrap polystyrene is reprocessed for use as a building material. This has enabled the construction of more than 650 low-cost houses since the project was launched a good two years ago.
But it’s not only the BMW Group’s plant that plays an important role in South Africa: last year the company opened further offices there as well, for its global IT hub.
They are now home to some 2,000 employees providing global IT services for the BMW Group. Owing to its size and its specific characteristics as a market, South Africa is also the perfect place to pilot innovations. In 2020, for example, the BMW Group piloted direct sales with trading partners in South Africa. It was able to gain extensive experience from the project and constantly strives to provide the best premium customer experience in the industry.