TO THE POWER OF 3
HAVING ESTABLISHED AN AWARD WINNING REPUTATION FOR QUALITY THROUGH FIVE GENERATIONS OF 3 SERIES PRODUCTION, BMW’S PLANT ROSSLYN IS READY FOR ITS NEXT CHALLENGE, THE ALL NEW X3
LOCATED just north of Pretoria, where it’s been for the past 45 years, BMW’S Plant Rosslyn has not only established itself as one the most advanced vehicle-production facilities in the world, but has also played a crucial role in the continued success of the brand whose famous roundel emblem adorns its factory walls.
While the 2015 JD Power Platinum Plant Quality award con rmed the facility as one of the best in the world, what’s really earned Rosslyn such high esteem at boardroom level in Munich is the build quality of the more than a million examples of BMW’S bestselling 3 Series that have left its production line.
From building the E30 3 Series since 1983 to the current, sixth-generation F30, BMW South Africa has grown to employ more than 40 000 people directly and indirectly, while making a signi cant contribution to South Africa’s GDP. Such has been the faith placed in this facility’s future success that, in 2015, the BMW Group invested more than R6 billion in upgrading the production line to ready itself to build what’s turned out to be one of the most important models in the brand’s current portfolio, the third-generation BMW X3 SAV. So popular has this model been since its international introduction in 2017 that BMW has invested a further R160 million to increase the build capacity at Rosslyn in order to meet global demand.
Larger in most dimensions than the sixth-generation 3 Series it replaces on the production line, upgrades to Plant Rosslyn to accommodate the BMW X3 have included a new 26 000 m2 body shop equipped with 288 state-of-theart Kuka robots.
Of course, with the introduction of new technologies and building processes comes the need to up-skill and train the workforce tasked with overseeing the production line. To this end, Plant Rosslyn’s new R72 million Centre of Excellence training facility can accommodate not only 300 apprentices a year, but also ensures each member of the current workforce remains fully committed to the brand’s goals and output expectations.
With capacity to produce 76 000 units a year, Plant Rosslyn will build both left- and right-hand-drive xdrive20i, xdrive20d, xdrive30i and xdrive30d variants. From a newly upgraded vehicle-distribution facility, three train consignments carrying 160 cars each depart on a weekly basis for destinations throughout Europe.
Eager to maintain its first-class ranking on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, the BMW Group harnesses 51% of its global manufacturing energy needs via renewable sources. In the case of Plant Rosslyn, 30% of its electricity requirements are met by the Group’s Biomass project located 60 km from the production line. Here, four generators convert the methane gases produced by some 25 000 grazing cows sited on a neighbouring organic farm into energy that is used at Rosslyn.
With a BMW Group goal of being carbon neutral by 2020, additional sources of energy, including solar, have been incorporated into BMW’S South African production facility.
WHY THE X3?
Launched globally in October 2017, the third-generation BMW X3 is the brand’s entry into the hugely pro table and ever-growing premiummidsize SUV segment. Sharing its modern CLAR platform with the new BMW 5 Series, the X3’s shape has evolved into one of the more athletic and unapologetically bold o erings in this competitive segment.
While its larger overall dimensions compared with the previousgeneration X3 (including a 50 mm stretch in wheelbase) have freed up additional interior space, at the heart of all BMW models is a focus on the driver. To this end, the new X3’s centre console, including all its appropriately modern instrumentation interfaces, is angled towards the driver. Incorporated within the modern X3 package is the latest connected tech, including smartphone integration and the option of a digital remote keyfob, as well as active cruise control and a full bouquet of semi-autonomous driverassistance programs.
A BMW at heart, the new X3 aims to deliver all the versatility and practicality associated with this segment in a package that remains fun and focused to drive regardless of whether the owner has opted for one of the more dynamic M Performance packages, including uprated wheels sizes, brakes and suspension or, indeed, a more adventurous o -roadfettled variant with suitably rugged garb. To this end, BMW South Africa o ers advanced driving programmes for both disciplines, either at the brand’s Zwartkops training facility, or at its new o -road experience (BMW X Lifestyle Park) within the Waterfall Lifestyle Centre in Midrand.
clockwise from top The first BMW X3 to be produced at Rosslyn in April; the M40i is currently the top-of-the-range X3 derivative; 50 mm longer wheelbase than on previous model frees up oodles of cabin space; optional digital key fob.