A user in the M2 section of the BimmerPost forum recently did some deep digging and investigation, and unearthed evidence that suggests the next-generation of the 2 Series coupe could be scheduled for production in Mexico. The manufacturing would be taking place at BMW’s new plant in San Luis Potosi, and it’s likely that the 2 Series vehicles built there, which could include the next-gen M2, may be destined for the neighboring U.S. market.
We know very little about the upcoming second-generation 2 Series at the time of this writing, but it is clear that BMW has a replacement in the pipeline. The current F22 chassis 2 Series arrived for the 2014 model year, and will sign off after 2020. Employing a primarily rear-wheel drive layout (xDrive is optional on cars like the 230i and M240i) the 2 Series has been a favorite of enthusiasts since it went on sale. Compact dimensions reminiscent of BMWs from yesteryear coupled with a well thought out and functional interior easily qualified it as an excellent entry-level model, and the underpinnings also proved to be a winning formula when appropriately enhanced to suit the more powerful engines of the M2 and M2 Competition.
Along with a conventional 2 Series range, BMW is of course planning a next-generation M2 as well. These future chassis platforms are referenced respectively by the codes G42 and G87, and according to recent press, BMW is not planning a full M version of the recently-announced M235i Gran Coupé. The upcoming 2 Series and M2 will reportedly retain their rear-drive layout, which acts as a strong differentiator in comparison with the four-door which goes on sale next year.
Evidence suggesting the possibility of the 2 Series and M2 being constructed at BMW Group Plant San Luis Potosi comes in the form of shipment manifests that reveal componentry for the aforementioned chassis codes as being destined for Mexico via the Port of Charleston, South Carolina with an origin of Bremerhaven, Germany. Getting more specific, the parts themselves are described as body panels which are actually headed for a plant owned by Magna International that is also located in the same Mexican province. The shipments are only partial according to screenshots in the forum thread, but the words, “all new assembly” appear, much of the metal seems like it will be made into fenders, doors, and trunk lids.
BMW’s new plant in San Luis Potosi is its most technological yet. Construction commenced in 2016, and was completed earlier this year with the seventh-generation 3 Series announced as the first production assignment. The manufacturing facility cost a reported $1 billion, and is state of the art in terms of its environmental footprint; it’s powered by carbon-dioxide free power generation thanks to a 750,000 square-foot solar array, and uses less water than any other site in BMW’s production network to produce a vehicle.
Annual production is stated to be 175,000 units, and a staff of approximately 2,500 is already online using the latest industry 4.0 technology and standards, 3D scanning, and smart devices while working alongside an unknown but certainly large number of robots and automated systems. It also sounds like BMW’s signature flexible manufacturing practices will also soon be on full display, with multiple series and models being built in the facility.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]