BMW has officially commenced production of its new F40-generation 1 Series – revealed back in May and headed to South Africa later in the third quarter of 2019 – at the Leipzig plant in Germany.

Now that the final second-generation 1 Series has been built, the Munich-based firm has started producing its replacement, which interestingly moves to a front-wheel-drive platform.

The very first F40-generation 1 Series to roll off the assembly line was a 118i finished in Misano Blue paint and fitted with the M Sport package.

BMW says it plans to ramp up 1 Series production at Leipzig to around 600 vehicles per day in the near future, with the Regensburg plant also set to start building the five-door hatchback from November.

Around the same time, the Leipzig facility will start producing the upcoming 2 Series Gran Coupé, in addition to the other models – the 2 Series range (including M2 Competition), i3 electric vehicles and i8 line-up – for which it is already responsible.

“Manufacturing the new BMW 1 Series in series is a very special moment for all of us at the Leipzig plant. The 1 Series will make a decisive contribution to the constant high capacity utilisation of our plant in the coming years,” said Hans-Peter Kemser, head of BMW Plant Leipzig.

“The past few months have been marked by intensive preparations for the new model. Already with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, our employees were able to prove their competence in the production of vehicles with the BMW front-wheel-drive architecture,” he added.