The BMW assembly plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria started building the X3 SUV model range in 2018 – and had assembled an incredible 162,399 units by the end of 2020.
For 35 years prior to this, the plant assembled all five ranges of the popular BMW 3 Series.
Between 1983 and 2018, the BMW Rosslyn plant saw 1,191,604 3 Series cars roll off the production line. From there, it switched to the current X3 production run.
Building the X3
In anticipation of starting production on the X3 in 2018 – the model that accounted for around 7% of the company’s sales at the time – BMW invested R6 billion into expanding operations.
It called the move the “X-Era of Plant Rosslyn”.
This included increasing output by around 10%, to 76,000 units per year, adding a new 26,000 square metre body shop, and expanding production lines.
In addition, it built a R73-million training academy. The facility covers 600 square metres and is able to host up to 300 apprentices.
“The company’s graduate development programme remains highly favoured among graduate trainees,” said BMW.
This expansion warranted a visit from President Cyril Ramaphosa and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in February 2020, where they met the students and graduates of the programme.
When vehicle production resumed after the first Covid-19 lockdown subsided, the BMW Rosslyn plant was endorsed by the Gauteng Premier for its adherence to strict health and safety conditions.
This resulted in one of the first vehicle shipments out of South Africa during the pandemic, which consisted of exporting 2,000 X3s with an approximate value of R1.5 billion.
“BMW South Africa is one of the country’s most significant automotive employers, having exported approximately R150-billion worth of vehicles in the past 10 years,” said the company.
BMW added that it continued production at the plant during 2021 without any interruptions.
According to BMW South Africa, the group employs over 49,000 people in the country both directly and indirectly.
Across the factory and dealer network, it has over 4,680 employees.
Photos of the BMW assembly plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria are shown below.