Thirty-five years and almost 1.2 million cars later, this is the last 3 Series sedan to be built at Rosslyn. Picture: BMW SA
JOHANNESBURG - The last BMW 3 Series vehicle rolled off BMW South Africa’s production line in Rosslyn this week after 35 years of producing the model locally, with production stopping to prepare the plant for the manufacture of the BMW X3 from April this year.

The plant has produced a total of 1.19million and five generations of 3 Series models, with this model continuing its current lifecycle but produced by other plants within the BMW group worldwide.

Tim Abbott, chief executive of BMW Group South Africa and sub-Saharan Africa, said yesterday that the group looked back with great pride over the extraordinary career path of the production of the five generations of the BMW 3 Series at Rosslyn.

“Over the years, the development of our production and export programme has been the catalyst for our sustainable growth and contribution to the South African economy.

A BMW assembly plant. Photo: Bloomberg


“With the imminent production of the new BMW X3, we remain a committed and engaged corporate citizen dedicated to the upliftment of South Africa and its people,” he said.

The shift to the production of the BMW X3 follows BMW in November 2015 reaffirming its long-term commitment to South Africa by announcing that it would invest a total of R6billion in its plant at Rosslyn.

An additional R160m was pumped into the plant in October last year to enhance production line speed.

Stefan Hülsenberg, the director of BMW Plant Rosslyn, said the enhancement had raised the maximum annual production capacity by almost 10percent to 76000 units from 71000 units.

Hülsenberg said the plant now had excellent potential in the future to produce the highest volume ever in its 45-year history.

“Plans to create a centre of production excellence at our plant are well under way with the largest infrastructure upgrade in the history of the facility now completed and staff upskilled in state-of-the-art technologies.

“Supplier development and localisation strategies are in progress, and we are confident that the new BMW X3 will be more localised than the BMW 3 Series we've produced.

"We are continuing to build our future together,” he said.

BMW Group South Africa directly and indirectly employs more than 40 000 people, including associates at the plant and at its national sales organisation, dealer staff and first tier supplier employees.

- BUSINESS REPORT