BMW South Africa’s Rosslyn Plant outside Tshwane will begin exporting its 3 Series vehicles to China later this year, after receiving a China Quality Certification clearance permit from the authorities there last week.
BMW South Africa is the first car manufacturer in the country to be awarded the permit since the establishment of the country’s Motor Industry Development Programme (MIDP) in 1995.
The MIDP is a support programme aimed at the development of a sustainable, globally competitive automotive industry by providing South African manufacturers incentives such as a reduction on import duties.
China is one of the fastest growing major markets in the world, and BMW sales in the country are growing by over 40% every year. “The South African-built vehicles will go a long way towards addressing the booming demand in this market,” BMW South Africa said in a statement.
The Rosslyn Plant was awarded the China Quality Certification following a comprehensive audit which confirmed that the plant’s production and quality management systems met global standards.
It follows a R2.2-billion upgrade of the plant, which re-opened in March this year. Its production capacity will increase significantly in the coming years to exceed 90,000 units per year, BMW South Africa’s managing director Bodo Donauer said.
“The China certification is a great vote of confidence in our plant and our people. It bodes well not only for our sustainability as a company, but also for the broader motoring industry in South Africa,” Donauer said.
“While our Chinese exports will start at a small level at first, the plan is for this market to ultimately make up around 10% of our total export volume. In 2012, we plan to export around 3,900 units to China.”
The Rosslyn plant was the first BMW plant to be established outside Europe, in 1973. It currently exports 50% of the vehicles it produces to the USA, with the remainder going to local and African markets, Canada, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia.
“With more than R10-billion invested, BMW South Africa has led the local motor industry in a number of respects in terms of production and export,” the company said.
“At the same time, BMW’s development of its production and export programme has been the catalyst for the company’s sustainable growth and contribution to the South African economy.”