Last week, it was reported that BMW would continue its investments in China in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The largest national auto market in the world, China is already home to BMW Brilliance which has manufacturing operations concentrated around the city of Shenyang. In 2003, BMW Brilliance vehicles began rolling off the line at the Dadong factory to the northeast of Shenyang. In 2012, another factory along with an engine plant was opened in Tiexi, to the southwest of the city. The latest addition to the Tiexi complex, completed in 2017, brought the output capacity of BMW Brilliance manufacturing in and around the city of Shenyang to 450,000 units annually. If that number sounds familiar, that’s because it’s the same as BMW Group Plant Spartanburg in the South Carolina, currently the automaker’s largest.
Now, a new facility is being constructed in Tiexi, which will be located near the BMW Brilliance factory that already exists there. The news comes via multiple sources including the Chinese state-run outlet Xinhua, and arrives on the heels of BMW reaffirming its intent to build more cars in the country. When completed, the new facility will take up 1.25 square miles, and bring total production output of BMW Brilliance operations in Shenyang to 650,000 units, thus eclipsing Spartanburg. An initial cost equivalent to approximately $3,250,000,000 over the next few years is being reported.
Although we’ve often referred to the separate sites in Shenyang as a factory because they’re located on opposite ends of the city, these are indeed individual production facilities that have a dedicated focus. Outside of Munich and the state of Bavaria, this practice is not particularly common for BMW, as other group production facilities typically take up a large, sprawling areas of land near a city, and are situated hundreds of miles apart. Considering that Brilliance Automotive is headquartered in Shenyang, the clustered grouping around the city makes a bit more sense.
Currently, the BMW Brilliance factory in Dadong produces the China-exclusive long wheelbase 5 Series, while the X1 LWB, 2 Series Gran Tourer, 3 Series sedan (in conventional and LWB form) roll off the line in Tiexi. The engine manufacturing plant in Tiexi builds four-cylinder units. When completed, the new facility will have output that includes conventional internal combustion, hybrid, and purely electric models, and boast 5G connectivity along with the latest in automated production methods.
In late February of this year, after production operations had resumed post coronavirus outbreak shutdown, the 3,000,000th Chinese-built BMW left the assembly line at the Dadong plant.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]