Bovines and BMWs
This year, BMW’s plant in Rosslyn outside Pretoria added 300 new robotic labourers. These robots are required to assemble new BMW X3 models for South Africa and Europe. That’s right: The Germans drive in BMWs manufactured by us. This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering that this same plant won the JD Power satisfaction award in 2002 for assembling the highest quality cars in the world.
Fortunately, these 300 new robots didn’t steal human jobs. To the contrary: BMW’s engineering academy trains 300 new apprentices per year and a total of 2 000 skilled artisans have already graduated from the academy to the assembly line.
BMW’s promise to become more environmentally responsible has been strengthened by using the services of the Bio2Watt bioelectricity station outside Bronkhorstpruit. Every year the Bio2Watt station converts 40 000 tons of manure and 20 000 other organic waste into flammable gas by means of a digestion process. The gas is then used to fuel generators that push 4.2 gW of electricity into Eskom’s power grid. And BMW gets credit for their contribution to the national power supply. BMW South Africa hopes to be able to rely 100% on alternative and sustainable sources of energy by the end of 2018. This compares favourably to BMW Germany’s aim to reach the same goal by 2020.
Because 30% of BMW’s sales are thanks to the X-models, the BMW Waterval branch in Midrand opened a new “lifestyle park”.
From this month onward you can pay R2 750 for a professional 4x4 course on a 1,3 km long obstacle trail. The course was specifically designed to make BMW’s X-models shine. go! Drive & Camp’s Cyril Klopper drove the trail (still unfinished at the time of his visit) and he confirms that it should impress BMW owners.
Other than the 4x4 trail there’s a zipline, abseiling, parkrun trails, and a BMW shop where you can buy BMW-branded clothing and sip on expensive imported coffee.