BMW Group Announces $220 Million for Electrification of Plant Rosslyn, South Africa
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- South African plant as a blueprint for social, environmental and economic sustainability
- BMW Group invests 4.2 bn rand (over 200 million euros) in electrification of Plant Rosslyn
- Nedeljković: “From 2024 the next-generation BMW X3 will be made in South Africa as a plug-in hybrid for global export.”
- 1.5 million euros to be donated to UNICEF to support young people in South Africa
Fifty years ago, Plant Rosslyn was the BMW Group’s first foreign facility. It has since become a mainstay of the global production network. To mark its silver jubilee, Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production, has now announced the electrification of Plant Rosslyn. Speaking in South Africa, he said: “From 2024 we will manufacture the BMW X3 as a plug-in hybrid for global export in South Africa. An investment of 4.2 billion rand (over 200 million euros) will ready Plant Rosslyn for electromobility.” The investment will be accompanied by specialist training for more than 300 employees at the plant.
Partners with South Africa for 50 years
The investment announced today will electrify yet another site in the BMW Group production network, in line with the global BMW iFACTORY master plan for production of the future. It marks a further step in advancing the development of efficient, digitalised, resource-friendly production.
Plant Rosslyn has produced more than 1.6 million vehicles to date and exported them to more than 40 countries worldwide, including 14 nations in Africa. Its production portfolio has included the BMW 1800 SA and BMW 2000 SA as well as the BMW 5 Series and 7 Series. For decades it was a cornerstone of BMW 3 Series production, and it has been manufacturing the BMW X3 since 2018 – the best-selling BMW. Its establishment marked the start of BMW’s globalisation. Today, the BMW Group sells vehicles in more than 140 countries around the world and operates manufacturing facilities in 15.
Blueprint for social responsibility
Nedeljković, who is also Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW South Africa, emphasised that the BMW Group does more than just make cars in the country: “In South Africa we have not just set up a plant that offers employment and contributes to the country’s industrialisation; for the last 50 years, we have also demonstrated the meaning of social responsibility.”
The BMW Group considers itself a responsible corporate citizen and also announced today that it would be donating more than 1.5 million euros to support a programme run by UNICEF (the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). Together, the BMW Group and UNICEF will use the programme to teach science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) to thousands of children and young South Africans.
Also important to the BMW Group is the issue of resource conservation. Since 2015 Plant Rosslyn has sourced part of its energy from a nearby biogas plant (Bio2Watt), steadily reducing its CO2 footprint. It also partners various organisations so that the waste it produces is reused instead of being disposed of. Together with Envirolite, for example, it ensures that scrap polystyrene is reprocessed for use as a building material. This has enabled the construction of more than 650 low-cost houses since the project was launched a good two years ago.
South Africa as a pilot market for innovations
But it’s not only the BMW Group’s plant that plays an important role in South Africa: last year the company opened further offices there as well, for its global IT hub. They are now home to some 2,000 employees providing global IT services for the BMW Group. Owing to its size and its specific characteristics as a market, South Africa is also the perfect place to pilot innovations. In 2020, for example, the BMW Group piloted direct sales with trading partners in South Africa. It was able to gain extensive experience from the project and constantly strives to provide the best premium customer experience in the industry.