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“Eight times five is 50”: Plant Dingolfing celebrates start of BMW i5 production during anniversary year
21.07.2023 Press Release
+++ Eighth-generation BMW 5 Series now also available fully-electric +++ Milan Nedeljković: “E-mobility as new normal for production network” +++ Launch of 15 BEV models worldwide from 2021 to 2024 +++ Plant Dingolfing to build over 40% electric vehicles in 2024 +++
Juan Bernardo Vazquez Mellado
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Dingolfing. The new BMW 5 Series, including the all-new fully-electric BMW i5, celebrated the official start of production today at BMW Group Plant Dingolfing, in the presence of Bavarian Minister-President Markus Söder. The site in Lower Bavaria, which is celebrating 50 years of BMW automotive production in 2023, has now ramped up its third fully-electric model in two years, following the BMW iX and BMW i7. Pure battery-electric vehicles’ share of total production at the BMW Group’s largest European manufacturing location is projected to increase to over 40 percent next year.
Milan Nedeljković, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Production, explained in Dingolfing today: “The BMW i5 and our plant in Dingolfing are perfect examples of how the BMW Group is transforming itself for e-mobility and developing our plants on the road to the BMW iFACTORY. E-mobility is the new normal at our plants worldwide. Between 2021 and 2024, we will have integrated a total of 15 fully-electric vehicles into our production network.”
To achieve this, the BMW Group is relying on flexible architectures and offering most of its models to customers around the world with different drive train variants. The BMW 5 Series – like the BMW 7 Series and BMW X1 before it – will be available with a fully-electric drive train or internal combustion engine, or as a plug-in hybrid. This requires a high degree of flexibility, but allows the company to utilise its plants’ capacity efficiently and adjust its offering to customer demand. Nedeljković: “We are following the market. Customer requirements determine what the actual drive train mix looks like.” This has been made possible by extensive investments in the production network. The BMW Group has invested more than one billion euros in integrating the BMW iX, BMW 7 Series and BMW 5 Series at the Dingolfing vehicle plant.
As Dingolfing's core model, BMW 5 Series injects new impetus
Over the next few years, Plant Director Christoph Schröder expects the launch of the new BMW 5 Series to boost the plant’s production numbers: “The BMW 5 Series has traditionally been Dingolfing’s core model and will provide valuable impetus for volumes again this time.” In 2022, more than 280,000 vehicles came off the assembly line at Plant Dingolfing. Over the coming year, with the start of production for the BMW 5 Series Touring and the eighth-generation BMW M5 models, Schröder expects that number to climb to well over 300,000 vehicles. Stefan Danner, Deputy Chairman of the Dingolfing Works Council, adds: “Along with the successful transition to e-mobility, the BMW 5 Series is central to long-term capacity utilisation at our plant, as well as securing jobs.”
50 years of BMW cars from Dingolfing
Of the roughly 12 million BMW vehicles built at the location to date, a total of eight million, i.e. two thirds, are BMW 5 Series models. This is closely tied to the history of Plant Dingolfing. Exactly 50 years ago, back in September 1973, the very first BMW car rolled off the production line at the new vehicle plant – a first-generation tangerine-coloured BMW 520i. Since then, the plant in Lower Bavaria has become one of the most prominent locations in the automotive industry – and an engine for economic development in the region. The annual wage bill for the more than 18,000 BMW employees in Dingolfing is over one billion euros, and the plant contracts with around 1,000 suppliers from Lower Bavaria. In addition to investing in the Dingolfing vehicle plant, the BMW Group has also channelled more than one billion euros into production of electric powertrain components at the location since 2015.
The vision of the BMW iFACTORY
As with the decision to build Plant Dingolfing during the oil crisis of the early 1970s, the entrepreneurial vision of the BMW Group is still very much in evidence at the site today. Thanks to extensive investment, Plant Dingolfing is extremely well equipped for the future – and the transition to the BMW iFACTORY is tangible. The best example of this development in the areas of "lean" and "digital" is winning the renowned Automotive Lean Production Award in 2022. The Technology Assembly was recognised for the rollout of intelligent camera systems for quality monitoring (AIQX), for example, as well as smart logistics solutions and the IT platform IPS-i for identification and localisation of objects. Last year, the plant also piloted Automated Driving In-Plant (AFW), deploying the new BMW 7 Series along routes between the assembly hall and the finish area. This is being rolled out on a larger scale with the launch of the new BMW 5 Series.
In the field of sustainability – the “green” aspect of the BMW iFACTORY – the site has stepped up its activities in different areas in recent years: from promoting biodiversity on plant grounds, to preventing and recycling waste so only around 600 grams of waste for disposal remain per vehicle produced, up to and including decarbonisation measures. In addition to sourcing green power, the location has also signed a far-reaching contract for the supply of locally-produced heat from regional biomass for heating purposes. This will meet around half the plant’s process hot water requirements from the middle of the decade onwards, reducing its CO2 emissions by 10-15% as a result.
Important decisions for the future
Nedeljković sees the recent investments in the transformation of Dingolfing and the other Bavarian plants as a firm commitment on the part of the BMW Group to Bavaria as a manufacturing location: “Nine out of ten BMW vehicles produced are sold to customers outside of Germany these days. Despite this, we still have more than half our employees here, especially in Bavaria – and, for all the internationalisation needed to achieve globally balanced growth, Bavaria remains an important pillar of the BMW Group and its production network.”
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