BMW Group Plant Leipzig has produced its 3,000,000th BMW since coming online in 2005, a Sunset Orange 2 Series convertible. The factory, which is perhaps best known for building M models such as the 1 Series M Coupe and M2, and i models like the i3 and i8, has produced a varied array of BMW vehicles over the years, and currently has annual production capacity of up to 350,000 units, a substantial increase from the 54,000 units it could manage sixteen years ago.
The first BMW to leave Plant Leipzig was an E90 320i in March of 2005. It took six years to reach the seven figure milestone, and the 1,000,000th BMW built at the facility was a 116d finished in Alpine White which rolled off the line during December of 2011. In October of 2016, a Protonic Blue i3 bound the U.S. marked the 2,000,000th Leipzig-made BMW, and a year later, the plant celebrated production of the 200,000th i3.
Since 2013, i3 production has been powered by four on-site wind turbines. In 2020, BMW began investing the equivalent of more than $116,000,000 into the plant in preparation for battery-module production, which is scheduled to begin later this year.
Up until the introduction of the i3 and i8 in 2013 and 2014 respectively, Leipzig seemed to specialize in manufacturing primarily rear-wheel-drive BMW models. In the plant’s early years, these included the E90 3 Series, early-model versions of which were built there from 2005 until 2007. Next came the first-generation 1 Series in 2007, and its various derivatives including the E82 1 Series coupe, E88 convertible, and E81 three-door hatchback, which was never sold in the U.S. The E84 X1 followed in 2009, with second-generation 1 Series models like the F20 hatchback coming in 2012.
Production of the i3 began in 2013 and continues today; the i3 is among the longest-running current BMW models. i8 production also initiated in 2013, with the Roadster joining in 2018; production of both high-performance plug-in hybrids ended in 2020. Starting in 2014, BMW 2 Series convertibles began rolling off the line, while the following year, the F22 2 Series coupe joined the production schedule. The front-wheel-drive 2 Series Active Tourer was also added in 2014, and in the years since, more than 360,000 have left the plant, with production continuing today.
|BMW 3 Series Sedan E90||2005–2007||333,427|
|BMW 1 Series three-door E81||2007–2011||187,263|
|BMW 1 Series Coupé E82||2007–2013||130,205|
|BMW 1 Series Convertible E88||2008–2011||131,664|
|BMW X1 E84||2009–2015||635,194|
|BMW 1 Series M Coupé E82||2011–2012||6,342|
|BMW 1 Series five-door F20||2012–2015||424,111|
|BMW 2 Series Coupé F22||2015–||163,697|
|BMW i3 i01||2013–||211,743|
|BMW i8 i12||2013–2020||16,581|
|BMW i8 Roadster i15||2018–2020||3,884|
|BMW 2 Series Active Tourer F45||2014–||362,758|
|BMW 2 Series Convertible F23||2014–||114,072|
|BMW M2 F87||2015–||60,701|
|BMW 1 Series five-door F40||2019–||151,801|
|BMW 2 Series Gran Coupé F44||2020–||66,557|
The F87 M2 was manufactured at Leipzig starting in 2015, and the most powerful model the plant produces is the current M2 Competition. More than 60,000 M2s have been built at Leipzig, nearly ten times the number of 1 Series M Coupes which left the plant in 2011 and 2012. The most recent BMW models to be added to the production schedule at Leipzig are the F40 1 Series hatchback, and the 2 series Gran Coupé. With more than 630,000 produced at the plant, the X1 is the most common BMW to have been manufactured at Leipzig by a wide margin.
The next model to be built at Leipzig won’t be a BMW model; it will instead be the Mini countryman, which is to be sold in both internal combustion and hybrid form.
“The fact that we’ve manufactured 3,000,000 cars in sixteen years is all down to the hard work and commitment of our highly motivated employees. The team here in Leipzig are fantastic,” explained Plant Director Hans-Peter Kemser, praising the work of all employees. The plant is also a leader in electromobility for BMW. “The 3,000,000 we are celebrating today include more than 200,000 BMW i3 vehicles, and production of all-electric cars continues to develop. The next time we celebrate an anniversary, it will be with a new family member, the Mini Countryman from Leipzig, which will come with a choice of a combustion engine or an electric drive.”
The Lord Mayor of Leipzig, Burkhard Jung, added his sentiments. “In 2016 I came here to celebrate Plant Leipzig’s 2,000,000th vehicle. I’m now looking forward to coming back for the 4,000,000th! Judging by the way BMW is constantly investing in the development of this facility, that will be within the next five years. Also, I’m particularly pleased that, after the BMW i3, Plant Leipzig is due to manufacture another electric car, the Mini.”—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]