BMW Group South Africa has officially announced the start of production of the new X3 at its Rosslyn plant near Pretoria, completing the switchover from building the 3 Series sedan and confirming that the first customer vehicles are now rolling off the line.
The news comes after the Munich-based automaker in 2015 announced a R6-billion investment in South Africa in order to prepare Plant Rosslyn for X3 production, as well as a further R160-million in 2017.
BMW says the South African factory – the first plant built by the BMW Group outside of Germany – was assigned production of the third-generation X3 on the basis that demand exceeds the capacity of the US plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
With a planned capacity of 76 000 units, BMW SA says its plant has the opportunity to “flexibly match volumes to demand, and to build more cars than ever before”. The brand furthermore says the switch to X3 production “has secured the future of Plant Rosslyn as well as the livelihoods of thousands of people at facilities and in the supply chain”.
BMW SA claims it has “localised production of as many components as possible” for the X3, essentially rendering the SUV the most “local” vehicle it has ever built. Interestingly, BMW South Africa imported the first batch of new X3 units for the local market before production at Plant Rosslyn kicked off.
“The allocation of production of such a crucial model to our plant is about as big a vote of confidence as it gets,” said Tim Abbott, CEO of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“The demand for the BMW X3 globally is powerful, and ramping up on time and to the right standards is vital to the model’s success.
“I have full confidence in our associates and plant management at Rosslyn. This is the team that won the coveted JD Power Platinum award in 2015, showing that a South African plant can lead the world in terms of quality,” Abbott added.