Production at BMW Plant Rosslyn dates back to 1968, when Praetor Monteerders began assembling cars, utilising BMW engines and drive-trains fitted to Hans Glas sheet metal pressed and shipped from Dingolfing in Germany.
In 1973, BMW AG took over full shareholding and established BMW Group South Africa (Pty) Ltd with BMW Plant Rosslyn becoming the BMW Group’s first manufacturing facility outside of Germany.
Since then, the BMW Group has been a major investor in South Africa and its people, with BMW Plant Rosslyn moving from a limited vehicle-production plant that merely assembled vehicles with a few customisation possibilities for the local market, to a world-class plant, capable of producing highly customised cars for customers across the globe.
For example, the BMW Group was the first OEM to adjust its production model to capitalise on exports, before the finalisation of the Motor Industry Development Plan (MIDP) in 1999. Similarly, the BMW Group was the first OEM to announce a new investment in South Africa before the finalisation of this plan’s replacement, the APDP in 2009.
During this period, Plant Rosslyn’s production of the BMW 3 Series and the BMW Group’s investment in South Africa increased substantially with each new generation as well.
This is especially true after the introduction of a fully-fledged export programme in 1999:
With the third generation BMW 3 Series (E36), Plant Rosslyn produced around 92,000 units from 1994 to 1998 or around 19,000 cars per year.
The fourth generation BMW 3 Series (E46) was built between 1998 and 2005 and Plant Rosslyn was responsible for approximately 269,000 units or around 38,500 cars per year.
The fifth generation BMW 3 Series (E90) ended production with around 342,000 units or around 49,000 cars per year, having been built from 2005 to 2012.
Since the start of production of the sixth generation BMW 3 Series (F30) in 2012, 1,191.604 units have been built at Plant Rosslyn.
And now, following BMW Group South Africa’s R6,1 billion investment announced in the past three years for the production of the BMW X3, customer vehicles have rolled off the production line since April 2018 at Plant Rosslyn.
Therefore, since 1999, BMW Group South Africa has grown its overall production volume significantly while its production of cars for export markets has quadrupled.
BMW Group South Africa directly and indirectly employs over 49,000 people (4680 associates at the plant and at the national sales organisation, 4,956 dealer staff and 40,000 first-tier supplier employees). Earlier in 2016, BMW Group South Africa was named the number one employer in the automotive industry for the third consecutive year in the Universum Most Attractive Employer Awards for 2015. In addition, for the third consecutive year, the South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA) Graduate Recruitment Awards, bestowed the honour of Employer of Choice in the Automotive Industry to BMW South Africa in June 2015. The company’s Graduate Development Programme remains highly favoured among graduate trainees. More so, with R73 million invested for the new BMW Group Training Academy, there is now an intake of 300 apprentices per year.