BMW Expands Leipzig Plant – i3 And i8 Output Will Increase

JUL 11 2018 BY MARK KANE 27

BMW announced expansion of its Leipzig plant in Germany to increase production capacity from 250,000 annually to 350,000 annually by 2020.

BMW i8 Roadster production in Leipzig plant

Increasing output by 100,000 and preparations to handle all kinds of powertrains on the same production lines will require more than a €300 million ($350 million) investment.

Leipzig produces BMW i3/i3s, as well as i8/i8 Roadster cars and production is going to increase from 130 daily today to 200 daily in Autumn. It’s possible that BMW i production will be increased even more at later stage by 2020.

Read Also – BMW CEO Says Automaker’s Next-Gen EVs Will Go 435 Miles

Increases in BMW i production capacity must mean that sales are expected to go up significantly – by roughly 50%.

Interesting is what BMW Group said about all of its plants – all are to be ready for all-electric car production:

“The BMW Group is currently preparing all of its plants to integrate fully electric vehicles into their existing structures so that they can produce combustion-powered, hybrid and fully electric vehicles simultaneously.”

Press blast:

Work begins on BMW Plant Leipzig extension

Investments of over €300 million up to 2020 will increase annual production capacity by 100,000 units

Leipzig. The BMW Group is to invest more than €300 million in its Leipzig plant. Comprehensive construction work to extend and update the body and paint shops, assembly and logistics is already under way, laying the foundation for continued growth and the production of future models in Leipzig.

The main focus of activities at the plant is to increase annual production capacity by approx. 100,000 units, from the current 250,000 to about 350,000 p.a. in 2020. Production of BMW i models will rise much earlier, in autumn of this year, from 130 to 200 units a day to meet the welcome growth in demand.

“We have every faith in the skills and productivity of employees at our Leipzig plant,” said Oliver Zipse, BMW AG Board Member for Production. “So it’s only logical that, with the measures we are introducing now, we should make the plant even more flexible and, above all, more efficient to keep it competitive in the future.”

This important step for the company as well as the Leipzig/Halle region and the free state of Saxony was today honoured in the presence of the Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure, Andreas Scheuer; the Minister President of the Free State of Saxony, Michael Kretschmer; the First Mayor of the City of Leipzig, Torsten Bonew; the Board Member for Production, Oliver Zipse; Plant Director, Hans-Peter Kemser, and Works Council Chairman, Jens Köhler.

Andreas Scheuer, German Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure: “Germany is the land of mobility. The automotive industry is our leading sector – and that’s not about to change. It has created jobs for hundreds of thousands of people and will continue to do so in the future. We now have the chance to bring new German drive technologies onto the market, and must make electric mobility real for people and convince them with performance.”

Minister President Michael Kretschmer: “This plant extension is a clear sign which will strengthen Saxony even further as an industry base and secure good jobs for the Leipzig region. I am delighted that BMW remains faithful to Leipzig and continues to make major investments here.”

“What’s most important to me, as Plant Director, is our company’s clear show of trust in our employees and our region,” said Hans-Peter Kemser. BMW Group Plant Leipzig first launched series production in March 2005, with 2,000 employees. Another 3,300 jobs have since been created, taking the total headcount to over 5,300 today. Since series production was first launched, in March 2005, more than 2.3 million vehicles have rolled off the production lines in Leipzig, and investments have totalled approx. €3 billion.

Works Council Chairman Jens Köhler emphasised: “Today is an extremely important day for our employees. These investments will secure our jobs here in Leipzig and ensure our plant is future-proof.”

Flexibility is gaining major importance in automotive production

The BMW Group is currently preparing all of its plants to integrate fully electric vehicles into their existing structures so that they can produce combustion-powered, hybrid and fully electric vehicles simultaneously.

BMW Group Plant Leipzig is no exception. Here, pioneering work has already reinvented and revolutionised the manufacture of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, leading to the launch of BMW i3 production in 2013, followed by the BMW i8 in 2014 and the BMW i8 Roadster in March 2018. Meanwhile, classic production at the site has been consistently extended throughout. Leipzig’s years of expertise in the field of electric vehicle production is now being rolled out across the BMW Group’s global production system.

“We are taking the invaluable knowledge from Plant Leipzig to facilities across our production network. Current production of the BMW i3 and BMW i8, in independent structures, will continue unaffected. Over the longer term, Leipzig will gradually develop further, capitalising on the opportunities of digitalisation and becoming more flexible to enable vehicles with any type of powertrain to be produced together on a single assembly line,” Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser explained.

Conversions under way throughout the plant

The rise in annual output of 100,000 units up to 2020 will be enabled by comprehensive extensions and conversions in all the core technologies. The latest system technologies will be introduced, processes and structures reviewed and refined, and existing facilities extended.

Paint shop – larger, more efficient, even more sparing with resources

The main focus of the developments at Plant Leipzig is the paint shop. This will be extended by 300 m to the north and south, with new buildings covering an area of 11,950 m2. The key features will be a second fully automated top-coat paint line in the south extension, and a new pre-treatment system and cathodic dip in the north. Together, they will increase paint shop capacity by more than 40 percent.

The introduction of cutting-edge IPP (integrated paint process; filler-free) technology will reduce energy consumption per unit by 15 percent, water consumption by about 30 percent, and wastewater production by roughly 45 percent. In the medium-term these resource-friendly technologies will also be integrated into the existing paint shop line.

Body shop – new industry robots and more

Structures and process systems in the bodyshop will also see modifications, with almost 500 additional cutting-edge industry robots to be fitted over the next few years. Further adjustments will be made to conveyor systems, laying the foundation for production of future models. In addition, Plant Leipzig will gain importance as an in-house supplier of doors and lids within the BMW Group production network.

Assembly – intelligent machine assistance through digitalisation

Assembly is also being upgraded, with a completely new panorama roof fitting system already added in March of this year. The 40-tonne piece of high-tech equipment is faster, more flexible and can fit considerable more variants than its predecessor.

In addition, preparations are under way for the targeted use of human-robot collaboration systems. These require no protective barriers and therefore allow robots to support associates even more closely as they work. One such system is already in operation, bonding windscreens into the BMW i3.

Assembly is also to be extended, with some 3,500 m2 being added to its existing footprint to create space for the additional workstations required for future models.

Logistics – perfect flow of goods; pilot projects for emissions-free transport
Perfect logistics are the backbone of automotive production. With several thousand components needed to make personal mobility on four wheels a reality, the €300 million investment in Leipzig will also focus on adjustments and optimisations to material flow systems.

Activities will centre on a value-stream focus – on short, efficient, well thought-out and therefore waste-free part flows and workflows throughout the plant.

As elsewhere, digital technologies are increasingly taking hold in everyday logistics. Some solutions are still being tested, such as logistics systems for autonomous container feeds, or the use of hydrogen-powered industrial trucks, which is currently being tested in a further pilot project with partners. The hydrogen vehicles will allow zero-emissions logistics on the plant premises and have their own refuelling facilities within the production halls.

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27 Comments on "BMW Expands Leipzig Plant – i3 And i8 Output Will Increase"

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I wonder if they are forecasting that their upcoming 120-something ah battery will make the i3 sell 40% better….or maybe this is more so to be ready for the i4/vision?

The US is the only region where the i3 sales has been flat. With or without the 120ah battery, the i3 is actually selling exceptionally well globally. They could easily sell more of the 94Ah cars today if they could.

Not once the model 3 is available globally

The Model 3 is designed to be a BMW 3 series competitor.
This car is excellent at commuting into the city, country drives, and normal highway speeds. If you’re going to want to do 90-150 mph on the highway, and really drive aggressively than the Model 3 would be better.

But, the i3 is great at what it does.
Comfortable, smooth performance, quieter transportation, and excellent city handling and city parking, transportation for 4 adults.

The Model 3 isn’t a hatchback.

Here’s hoping that the Model Y will be !

Exceptionally well? It’s a rounding error vs BMW’s volume models.

Also the i3 has sold by far the most in the US of any single country. Even if you meant the entire EU vs North America, the latter is still close. Wikipedia has the breakout of sales per country.

When Norway is so close to the US, 2017, and Norway and Germany combined are higher, then it does look like it sells much better in the EU.

But, if you’re limited to build 30,000 a year, then the US allocation may be small no matter the demand, because why ship over an ocean if you can sell most in the EU? Adding 100,000 to the production number should start to show the real US demand.

You already have to wait more then half a year for an i3 in Europe. So this extra capacity is needed even with the current battery.

We own two I3s… and while it is a great car, I see why they aren’t selling well in the USA. They are just too expensive for what you get. They sell well on the used market for $15,000 to $20,000. The trouble is, you can buy a brand-new Volt, Bolt, or Model-3 for less money than a brand new i3. And I dare say any of the alternatives are probably more reliable (especially if compared to Rex model) if BMW could lower the price down to $35,000 then they could easily sell twice or three times as many. Maybe they simply can’t make money at the price? Who knows. Perhaps the carbon fiber thing ended up being a mistake. I think a range increase on the battery could help keep it somewhat relevant. But I don’t think that alone would increase sales much.

If you want a BMW in that price region you have to buy a Mini

I looked at the i3 before I bought my Volt. Could not see the reason for spending so much more for the BMW logo. Love my 2017 Volt.

Enjoy your 3.3kWh charger, your inexistant DCFC, your shorter range, your cramp space in the back… you did get something else for less $$

You don’t even know the difference between energy and power. You should shut up about EVs.

You have a Volt too… ?? LOL

No. But I’m pretty sure there is no such thing as a charger measured in kWh.

Different people have different needs. A car that is right for one may not be for another.

His point wasn’t about his needs. He was arguing about the price, I was just pointing out he didn’t get the same value, hence the Volt being cheaper.

By that logic, BMW shouldn’t exist. Cheaper alternatives exist.

People pay extra for certain brands, and some for the technology behind it too. The demand for the i3 was been larger then the production. I guess it is important for them to make more, to cover development costs, and also have a pure BEV that they can offer. It is expensive. I drive one as a company car. If I had to fork over my own hard earned cash for it, I may have opted for a cheaper car, with cheap interior and worse handling. But now that I have used it for quite a while, it has kind of sat the standard for what I expect when it comes to quality, materials used, handling and so on. Cheaper EVs are cheaper in materials used, and they feels cheaper to rough, and use too. But now many new EVs will come to market soon. More options, more choises. More competition. I have seen the production of the i3 on YouTube, and it is really highly automated. I think labour costs are fairly low, so BMW have to cover cost of materials, assembly of the vehicle and some money to pay down on the production equipment, and the development for… Read more »

According to Munro’s analysis, the i3 design has been optimised for cost at low production volumes (30,000 or maybe 50,000) — thus unfortunately it doesn’t benefit too much in terms of cost from demand being much larger than what was originally planned…

Then they better start to offer an i4, i5, i6, i7 and so on.

But development costs and production equipment costs will benefit from larger numbers anyway. More vehicles to share the cost.

No tent ?

Not enough demand to justify the tent, for now and for this model the expansion is more than enough.

I’m preeeety sure that cover photo wasn’t taken anywhere near Leipzig… 😉

It’s not called Bavarian Motor Works for nothing. Garmisch-Partenkirken? Berchtesgaden? Somewhere in the alps.

Yeah, that’s for sure.
The photo must be from the alps somewhere. Love that area.