[SLIDESHOW] How BMW and Mini vehicles are made
BMW is one of the most influential manufacturing brands in the world. BMW is synonymous with luxury automotive manufacturing not least because of its dedication to continuous innovation. From collaborative robotics to digital applications for automotive creation, the company is always pushing boundaries.
SEE MORE: How the Tesla Model S is made
BMW has 30 manufacturing plants in 14 countries on four continents and its culture of innovation is felt at every production facility. In the slideshow above Manufacturing Global takes a behind-the-scenes look at some of the factories located in Germany, the UK, the USA and the Netherlands.
- Established in 1922, Munich is BMW’s parent plant.
- Initially the facility produced aircraft engines and motorcycles.
- Automotive production started in 1952 and since more than 9.3 million cars have rolled off the assembly lines.
- Today, 950 cars are produced each workday, including the 3 Series Sedan, 3 Series Touring, 4 Series Coupe and the M4 Coupe.
- The site also produces more than 2,000 engines per workday. The engine range comprises BMW 3, 4, 8 and 12-cylinder petrol-powered engines, 6-cylinder diesel engines as well as 8-cylinder high-performance engines for the BMW M models.
- Dingolfing is one of BMW’s largest production sites worldwide.
- Every day, around 1,500 vehicles of the BMW 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 Series roll off the assembly line.
- The site also makes vehicle components such as pressed parts and seats as well as chassis and drivetrain components.
- It also supplies the Leipzig plant with key components for Rolls Royce and the new electric BMW i models, such as high-voltage batteries, e-transmissions and the drive structure.
- The Leipzig plant is one of the world’s most modern and sustainable car factories, setting new standards with its building structure and architecture.
- The body shop, paint shop and assembly are grouped under one roof, arranged like the spikes of a star around the central building.
- Another special feature is the floor plan of the assembly hall: thanks to its finger or comb structure, supplier parts can be fed to the assembly line directly from the outside in sequence.
- The plant does not only produce conventional vehicles but also vehicles with an electric drive and CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced polymer) lightweight body.
- Its product range comprises the BMW 1 Series 5-door, 2 Series Coupe, 2 Series Convertible, 2 Series Active Tourer, X1, BMW i3 and i8.
- With the ‘i’ production, the site has taken sustainability to the next level: the specific water consumption has been reduced by 70 percent and energy consumption by 50 percent.
- The facility in Oxford currently produces the new MINI Hatchback and Convertible, the Clubman and Clubvan, and the MINI Roadster and Coupe.
- Since the re-development of the Oxford site in 2001, the plant has employed around 4,000 people who make up to 1,000 MINI vehicles a day in three-shift operations.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.