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BMW to Phase Out ICE Vehicles from Main Plant

By Antonio Gozain | Fri, 10/22/2021 - 14:20

As it begins producing the electric i4 model, BMW said it will stop manufacturing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles at its main plant in Munich in three to four years.

“For the plant and team, the launch of the BMW i4 is a milestone on the road to electric mobility. By 2023, more than half of all vehicles from our Munich facility will have an electrified drive. The majority will be fully electric, so Munich goes fully electric,” said Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production.

BMW, which has been present in the Mexican market for 27 years and opened a US$1 billion manufacturing facility in San Luis Potosi back in 2019, set itself a target of at least 50 percent of new global vehicle sales to be electric by 2030. ICE cars currently manufactured in Munich will be produced in BMW’s factories in Austria and the UK, and by 2022, at least half the vehicles made in Munich will be electric, said Nedeljković.

The i4 EV was made on a joint assembly line with ICE and hybrid models. Now, the company’s main plant manufactures all drive variants on a single assembly line, informed BMW, a shift that costed € 200 million (US$233 million). A similar diversified assembly line is already operating at BMW’s Dingolfing plant, which produces the BMW iX alongside HEVs and ICE vehicles, reported Reuters.

BMW was able to integrate electromobility into series production thanks to the similarities between the i4 model and conventional architectures, which differ in the electric drive and high-voltage battery. About 90 percent of the existing systems in the Munich bodyshop can still be used for the new model. “Our bodyshop is a shining example of intelligent, efficient integration. Most of the new production processes for the BMW i4 can be carried out on the existing bodyshop systems,” said Peter Weber, Director of BMW Group Plant Munich, who added that the new model will be prioritized in decision-making, amid ongoing semiconductor shortages.

BMW Group’s San Luis Potosi plant began producing Series 3 model in April 2019, reaching the 50,000th unit milestone by August 2020. In July 2021, the automaker also announced the introduction of the Series 2 Coupé, which was designed in Mexico and since Sept. 2, 2021, is manufactured exclusively in the country. While Mexico is not in the forefront of BMW’s electrification offensive, the group announced that plug-in hybrid models production will begin soon.

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, BMW Group, Reuters
Photo by:   BMW Group
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst