Showcasing South African BMWs and its passionate fans

History and Highlights

Posted on: 5 December 2013

History and Highlights

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BMWSA History and Highlights 1

Small Beginnings, Big Dreams. BMW South Africa has moved from operating as a completely knocked down production facility to being a world-class manufacturer and importer of fully built-up luxury motor cars.
1927: The first BMW-powered mode of transport reaches South Africa when a Dornier-Mercury aeroplane lands in Cape Town.
1929: A German immigrant, unable to part from his beloved two-wheeler, brings the first-known BMW motorcycle with him to South Africa.
1968: A Pretoria-based concern, Praetor Monteerders begins assembling cars at its factory in Rosslyn.
1970's: BMW buys a share in Praetor Monteerders.
1974: The new BMW 5 Series is launched in South Africa.
1975: BMW achieves a full shareholding in Praetor Monteerders and establishes BMW South Africa. The South African plant is the first to be established outside Germany.
1976: BMW launches the BMW 530 ′super car′ to the South African market. The company's initial decision to produce just 108 cars is soon out tripped by market demand for at least 200 units.
1978: The new BMW 7 Series replaces the 3.0L, the largest BMW available at the time. The presence of both the 5 and the 7 Series establishes BMW as a leading manufacturer of high-performance luxury passenger cars in South Africa.
1980: BMW South Africa draws its administrative, finance and marketing departments together and moves into a new office in Isando. At the same time, BMW South Africa starts importing the BMW 635i.
1982: BMW South Africa opens its own leather upholstery manufacturer in Garankuwa.
1983: BMW South Africa releases the highly-popular BMW 3 Series and the BMW 745i. The 745i, which was unique to South Africa and powered by the BMW M1's 3.5 litre 24-valve engine, was the fastest BMW 7 Series in the world at the time.
1986: BMW South Africa opens its current head office in Midrand.
1986: Unique to South Africa, the BMW 333i, with its sports suspension, low profile tyres, aerodynamic styling and 6-cylinder 3.2 litre engine, quickly becomes known as an agile streetwise performer.
1988: The BMW 735i wins the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists' (SAGMJ) Car of the Year Award.
1989: BMW SA Early Learning Centre at Plant Rosslyn opens.
1990: The BMW 525i wins the SAGMJ Car of the Year Award.
1993: The BMW 316i wins the SAGMJ Car of the Year Award.
1994: A fully-fledged export programme is launched and the first 500 South African-produced BMW 3 Series vehicles leave for Australia.
1994: The BMW Early Learning Centre in Midrand is opened.
1994: The BMW Group purchases the UK-based Rover Group and BMW South Africa starts marketing Land Rover products.
1994: BMW South Africa becomes the only local motor manufacturer to achieve ISO 9002 certification. The certification proves that BMW South Africa is capable of producing cars and components within a quality management system that meets the highest international standards.
1996: BMW AG invests R1 billion in the upgrade of the Rosslyn production facility, bringing the plant in line with motor manufacturing facilities worldwide and earning it the title of BMW World Plant, Rosslyn.
1997: The new BMW Z3, built at BMW's Spartanburg plant in the United States, arrives in South Africa.
1997: The BMW 528i wins the SAGMJ Car of the Year Award.
1999: BMW South Africa launches the new locally-built BMW 3 Series.
1999: BMW South Africa introduces a second shift and embarks on an export programme that will see some 170 cars produced per day and thousands of South African-manufactured BMW 3 Series vehicles being shipped to markets in Europe, Australasia, South America, North America, the Asia/Pacific rim and the Far East.
1999: BMW South Africa becomes the first motor manufacturer to achieve certification for its integrated (Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental) management system (ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and BS 8800).
1999: The Vehicle Distribution Centre (VDC), the central holding and distribution area for all BMW vehicles, is officially opened.
2000: The BMW Group sells Rover to Phoenix Consortium and Land Rover to Ford Motor Company. The Group retains the MINI brand.
2000: BMW South Africa expands into new export markets: Japan and USA. Production increases to around 200 cars per day. Over 70% of these vehicles are destined for exports markets. BMW South Africa generates R7.5 billion in exports.
2000: The 50 000th 3 Series produced at the Rosslyn factory rolls off the line.
2000: The BMW 320d and the BMW C1 motorcycle are launched in South Africa.
2001: BMW South Africa makes the first completely online car sale ever in South Africa.
2001: The BMW 320d wins the SAGMJ Car of the Year award. BMW is the first manufacturer to win the award 5 times.
2001: The 100 000th BMW 3 Series rolls off the production line.
2001: The Rosslyn plant starts producing the new face-lifted BMW 3 Series.
2001: BMW Germany announces that future BMW models will be built at Plant Rosslyn and that a further investment into the plant of R2 billion will be made to prepare for future production.
2001: 75% of the 49 000 vehicles produced at the Rosslyn Plant are exported to BMW customers in the USA, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and Australia.
2001: BMW South Africa sells its trimming division, SA Trim, to Aunde CarTrim.
2002: The new BMW 7 Series is launched in South Africa.
2002: The MINI brand is introduced into the BMW Group and the new MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S are launched in South Africa.
2002: Work starts on the new state-of-the-art Preparation and Effluents plant at Plant Rosslyn.
2002: Plant Rosslyn is awarded the highly prestigious J.D Power and Associates' European Gold Plant Quality Award, ranking it first among European plants for quality and beating major car manufacturing plants throughout the world.
2002: North American based company, BetzDearborn, presents BMW South Africa with The Return on Environment (ROE) Partnership Award for environmental improvements and cost savings at Plant Rosslyn.
2002: BMW South Africa, as part of the BMW Group, presents its triple bottom line of economic success, social responsibility and environmental protection at the World Summit on Sustainable Development held in Johannesburg.
2002: BMW South Africa is the first motor manufacturer and one of only eight companies in South Africa to be accredited as an Investor in People, as proof of its commitment to the development and growth of its employees.
2002: The 55 555th car rolls off the line in the highest annual production volume ever achieved at Plant Rosslyn.
2003: The Paint Preparation plant opens at Plant Rosslyn
2003: In January, the BMW Group expands its premium product range with the Rolls-Royce Phantom.
2003: BMW South Africa introduces the BMW Owner's Circle - a personalised online portal dedicated to BMW drivers.
2003: The all new R350-million high-tech paint preparation facility at Plant Rosslyn, the second phase of a state-of-the-art paint shop, is officially opened on April 7 by Minister of Trade and Industry, Alec Erwin.
2003: Plant Rosslyn produces the first ever vehicle with a perfect delivery quality figure of QZK zero in April. A few months later, the second ever zero defect car is produced.
2003: BMW South Africa launches the new BMW 5 Series and Z4 locally.
2003: By the end of 2003, 85% of all BMW South Africa employees have been voluntarily counselled and tested for HIV. On World AIDS Day, 1 December 2003, nearly 2000 associates demonstrate their commitment to the fight against HIV/AIDS by participating in a human AIDS ribbon formation at Plant Rosslyn.
2003: In December, BMW South Africa launches the first wholly black-owned metropolitan BMW dealership in South Africa, Joburg City Auto, in the heart of Johannesburg.
2004: Construction starts on a multi-purpose community centre in Soshanguve (dubbed the Soshanguve Health and Wellness Centre) a partnership between BMW                    South Africa, German non-profit organisation and funder SEQUA, and local partners.
2004: The 250 000th E46 BMW 3 Series rolls off the production line at Plant Rosslyn.
2004: The new BMW 6 Series, X3 and 1 Series are launched in South Africa.
2004: BMW South Africa becomes the official vehicle partner to the South African 2010 FIFA World Cup Bid Committee. The company provides several cars and financial support to the Bid Committee including a BMW 7 Series with the registration plate BMW 2010 GP.
2005: BMW Group South Africa launches the new MINI John Cooper Works, the BMW M5 and the BMW M6.
2005: The last E46 BMW 3 Series rolls off the line at Plant Rosslyn. It was the 269 810th 4-door sedan of its generation since start of build in 1998.
2005: The new E90 BMW 3 Series goes into production at BMW Plant Rosslyn. Production capacity of the new car is 250 cars a day and production begins simultaneously with other BMW 3 Series Plants in Munich and Regensburg - a first for a South African automotive plant.
2005: The Soshanguve Health & Wellness Centre is officially handed over by Mr Ernst Baumann to the Gauteng Department of Education on 21 April.
2005: BMW South Africa is recognised by J.D. Power & Associates in its 2005 South African automotive studies and receives three awards: Number One Ranked Medium Car (BMW 3 Series), Top Ranked South African Assembly Plant and Model in Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI)
2005: Symbolic reopening of Plant Rosslyn by the Minister of Trade & Industry, Mr Mandisi Mpahlwa confirming government's long-term commitment to the growth of the SA motor industry. This event rounds off a multi-billion Rand investment which made Plant Rosslyn the most advanced production facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
2005: BMW SA's Motorsport Driver, Anthony Taylor wins the 2005 SAHARA Production Car Class A Driver Championship in the new BMW 330i - the first time a brand new car wins a South African title in its debut season.
2005: The BMW HIV/AIDS Programme is expanded to include the BMW Dealer Network during the last quarter of the year.
2006: The BMW 3 Series wins the 2006 World Car of the Year award.
2006: BMW SA awarded the JD Power IQS Awards for: Best South African Manufacturing Plant, Best Medium Car (BMW 3 Series), Best Lower Luxury Car (BMW 5 Series), CSI Award for Best Luxury SUV (BMW X5) and the JD Power SSI Award for the Best Sales Satisfaction. The company also ranks number one in the annual National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) Dealer Satisfaction Index. The X3 is awarded First place in the Small Recreational Vehicle segment of the 2006 Synovate SA Product Quality Awards.
2006: BMW Motorplan turns 21 years old.
2006: The BMW Z4M Roadster and Z4 M Coupé, the BMW 3 Series Coupé and the M6 Convertible are launched at Auto Africa 2006. BMW Motorrad launches the R1200R.
2006: BMW Night Vision, a world-first innovative driver assistance system, becomes available for ordering in the BMW 5 Series, 6 Series Coupé and 6 Series Convertible.
2006: BMW SA introduces its Financial Wellness Programme.
2007: BMW SA opens the new Occupational Health Clinic at Plant Rosslyn and furthermore launched its ′HIV/AIDS Retest Campaign′.
2007: The BMW 3 Series Convertible, the new BMW X5 and M3 and the all-new MINI Cooper and MINI Cooper S are launched. BMW Motorrad launches the F800S, F800ST and the new G Series range of bikes (G650 Xchallenge, Xcountry and Xmoto) which are the lightest production bikes ever built.
2007: BMW SA is awarded joint first in the 2007 Synovate SA, Product Quality Awards as the Best Luxury Brand Overall, while BMW 1 Series and BMW 5 Series are the runners up in the Top Hatch and Top Executive Segments. The BMW 3 Series Coupé & Cabriolet top the Sports Coupé Segment.
2007: In the JD Power Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) Study, BMW SA is ranked the highest and sets the benchmark in three of the five categories, namely: dealership facility, salesperson and delivery process.
2007: BMW SA sells its Motorsport Division to ADF Motorsport (Pty) Ltd.
2007: The new building housing the BMW Financial Services head office in Midrand officially opens.
2008: MERSETA recognises BMW South Africa as a ′Top Training Company′ for its achievements in training & development and the active support of South Africa's National Skills Development Strategy.
2008: The launches of the 1 Series Coupé & Convertible, M3 Sedan & Convertible, the all-new BMW X6 and the new MINI John Cooper Works and MINI Clubman take place. BMW Motorrad launches the F800GS, F600GS, R1200GS, R1200GS Adventure and G450X.
2008: BMW Plant Rosslyn successfully contributes to the re-certification of the BMW Group for compliance to ISO 9001 (Quality) and ISO 14001 (Environment) Management Systems.
2009: Launches of the all-new BMW 7 Series, the all-new BMW Z4 and the brand-new MINI Convertible take place.
2009: BMW SA establishes itself as South Africa's favourite car brand in the Lovemark Awards which are conducted by advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi.
2009: BMW is voted as the coolest car brand for the fifth year in a row in the Sunday Times Generation Next Survey.
2009: BMW becomes the only motor manufacturer in SA to launch the Business ABET Learnership in partnership with MERSETA, Local and Provincial Government and the Department of Labour.
2009: BMW Early Learning Centre, Rosslyn celebrates its 20th Anniversary.
2009: The BMW Group announces its withdrawal from Formula One at the end of the 2009 Season.
2009: MINI celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a South African Event on 16 - 17 October in Clarens in the Eastern Free State. MINI fans in their thousands turn out to celebrate the brand's history and heritage alongside MINI rally legend, Rauno Aaltonen.
2009: BMW Plant Rosslyn wins the Enviro Award at the 21st Logistics Achiever Awards (LAA) for its energy reduction and sustainability measures. Since 2006, the company has saved more than R26 million in energy costs.
2009: BMW Group invests an additional R2.2 billion in Plant Rosslyn, in the process ensuring that Plant Rosslyn remains in line with rest of the BMW Group Production Network in terms of technology and infrastructure, allowing it to compete for the production of future models.
2009: BMW Plant Rosslyn is awarded two new export markets, Canada and Korea.
2010: BMW South Africa launches the BMW 5 Series Gran Turismo, the BMW X1, the new BMW 5 Series, the new BMW X3 and the MINI Countryman.
2010: BMW SA supports the SABCOHA School Holiday Camp Programme, Camp ′I Am′, reaffirming the company's commitment to the long-term development of South Africa and the legacy of the FIFA Football World Cup™.
2010: BMW South Africa loans 65 vehicles (20 of which are BMW High Security armoured vehicles) to the South African government, all of which are utilised to transport visiting dignitaries and heads of state to matches during course of the FIFA Football World Cup™.
2010: BMW Plant Rosslyn is awarded the contract to build painted BMW 3 Series bodies for export to India. The plant is now also able to build BMW 3 Series xDrive all-wheel drive vehicles for the first time, increasing its potential export volume to Canada and the United States in the process.

Stats courtesy of

Piece Of History.
In 1968, a Pretoria-based concern known as Praetor Monteerders began assembling cars, using BMW engines and drive trains fitted to the Hans Glas sheet metal pressed and shipped from Dingolfing in Germany, at its factory in Rosslyn. The cars coming off this initial production line were known as 1800 SA’s – literally denoting South Africa. Brazil was the only other country where the Glas/BMW derivative ever went on sale. In the early seventies, BMW AG bought shares in this company and shortly thereafter, the BMW 2500/2800 model hit the South African roads. In March 1974, BMW’s new 5 Series was launched locally and in April 1975 BMW AG took over full shareholding and established BMW South Africa (Pty) Ltd. The 5 Series and then the new 7 Series launched in 1978, finally established BMW as a manufacturer of high performance luxury passenger cars in South Africa.


Plant Rosslyn delivers world-class quality products to customers across the globe. All production operations are managed for delivering uncompromising, optimum quality. Each and every process involved in manufacturing the car is checked for process capability and inspections are implemented where required.
Parts fitted into the car are assessed every step of the way from Supplier to Plant and the supplier’s production facilities are audited against process conformity at pre-determined intervals.
In recognition of its commitment to quality, Plant Rosslyn won the J.D. Power and Associates’ Quality Award in three separate occasions:
• In 2002, the European Gold Plant Award for the Best Car from a European plant.
• In 2004, the South African J.D. Power award for the Best South African Manufacturing Plant.
• In 2005, the South African J.D. Power award for the Best South African Manufacturing Plant and number one ranked medium car (E46).
Product Quality standards monitoring
To ensure optimum customer satisfaction, the build quality of the vehicles produced at Plant Rosslyn is measured through a process called Complete Product Audit. This audit compares the quality of a unit to the customer's requirements, including technical specifications, fitment and function. These audits are performed throughout the build process at specified points. These strict audit standards are set at BMW Germany by the Central Quality department and are the same for all BMW plants.
Striving towards excellence
Sustainable excellence can only be achieved through adopting a structured framework enabling the planning, achievement and measurement of performance against the appropriate key business processes and management systems. Business success is therefore measured and reported in accordance with set targets based on the EFQM Excellence Model where Enabler targets cover the approach and deployment of policy and strategy and Results targets cover key business results. Frequent review by BMW’s top management ensures continuous adherence to these targets.
Quality by measurement and analysis
The Analysis and Test Centre (ATC) plays a major role in the drive for quality at Plant Rosslyn through its involvement in all dynamic aspects of the vehicle as well as complex problem analysis. Numerous tests are performed on vehicles and their components covering tyres and suspension, acoustics, electrics/electronics (E/E), endurance, engine and fatigue. These tests are important to determine the effect of South African conditions on locally and imported designs and parts.
As 80% of the vehicle functions are controlled by E/E, specific intensive tests are conducted on vehicles to obtain the maximum customer satisfaction. The introduction of new integration levels for electronic control units (hardware and software) gets validated, controlled and released by the E/E team.
As the material centre of competence for Plant Rosslyn, the Central Laboratory contributes by ensuring stable processes and process results.
It is an integral part of Plant Rosslyn’s Quality Organization with technological links to the global BMW Labortechnik Organization. The dual role provides us with an intricate worldwide network from which we can obtain resources and information.
The Laboratory is a neutral department which bases its findings on figures, data and facts during investigations. Its expert opinions are acknowledged within the BMW Group as well as in a court of law.
Central Laboratory’s main tasks include:
• Qualification of materials and quality conformance checks of incoming and processed materials,
• Chemical release –controlling the chemicals used in Plant Rosslyn regarding function as well as international health, safety and environmental standards.
• Material supplier development - develop suppliers and support in-house manufacturing of finished products such as adhesives, sealers, pre-treatment chemicals and paint products in Body-in-White, Paint Shop and Assembly.
• Problem solving - root cause analysis of failed investigations and detailed forensic analysis.
Steering of plant performance, to meet customer expectations and satisfaction
The delivered quality and long-term reliability performance of vehicles produced at Plant Rosslyn is measured through various sensors (internal and external).
These sensors include:
• Warranty information
• J.D. Power results
• Competitive Customer Satisfaction Index (CCSI)
• Vehicle distribution Centre results
• Analysis and Test Centre results
• Product Audit results
These results of these sensors benchmarked against other plants in the BMW Group.
Launch and Change Control
The Quality of newly introduced vehicles and options is secured in the Launch and Change Control Department.
This is done in a three-pronged approach:
Launch Control plans the introduction of new models and options through the build of Pre-Series cars. This is a project management function that steers the complete project across the whole plant. The changes steered are on complete vehicle level and will typically include upgraded engines, gearboxes, colours and options.
Change Control ensures the Quality introduction of changes to parts and modules during the Series production process. The parts availability, parts quality, tool changes and training are the main factors to be coordinated.
Methodology assures the quality of the vehicle build of Pre-Series cars, and drives the problem-solving process up to the Start of Production. Methodologists are considered to be product experts on new vehicle content.


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