IN WHAT is seen as a major vote of confidence in the local economy, BMW South Africa has announced a multibillion rand investment plan for its plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria.
Making the announcement in Johannesburg yesterday, BMW South Africa managing director Bodo Donauer said the spin-offs for the economy would be wide and varied and would benefit many people for years to come.
"This is part of our ongoing commitment to doing business in South Africa. The R2,2billion investment will result in our plant capacity increasing from 60000 to 87000 units a year," he said.
"We also have 56 local first-tier suppliers who will also benefit from this investment and it will enable us to stay on the same level as other BMW plants around the world," he said.
The Rosslyn plant, which is responsible for the production of about 25 percent of global BMW 3 series production, primarily exports to customers in the US, Japan, Taiwan, New Zealand, sub-Saharan Africa and Australia.
Donauer noted that the company, despite trying times, had avoided the need for retrenchments through streamlining operations and controlling costs and overheads.
"By safeguarding this workforce we have a distinct advantage to flexibly ramp-up operations for when market demand returns," he said.
Welcoming the announcement, Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Tshwane executive mayor Gwen Ramokgopa agreed it was encouraging that despite the dramatic downturn the automotive industry had taken over the past 12 months, BMW saw it fit to invest in the country.
"We welcome this long-term investment. The skills development programme will hopefully provide BMW with manysuitable employees as the expansion of Rosslyn takes place," said Davies.