This week BMW Group South Africa is showcasing the legendary vehicles that have been produced at its Rosslyn plant in Tshwane by means of a tour themed “The Legends of Rosslyn”. The tour includes the South African exclusive BMW 333i (E30), which was refurbished in 2017, as well as the renowned and recently restored BMW 325iS (E30) – also known as the “Gusheshe”. In addition, two special cars; car number 1,191,604 – the last current generation BMW 3 Series to be produced by BMW Group Plant Rosslyn – and the new BMW X3 that started rolling off the production line in April at the 45-year old plant, will join the tour.
A legend reborn: the BMW 325iS (E30) – aka Gusheshe.
Following the successful refurbishment of the BMW 333i (E30) and BMW M1 in 2017 by BMW Group South Africa’s Press Vehicles Technicians (part of the Group Communications Division), the BMW 325iS is the most recent classic car to be restored.
The 325iS was introduced in 1985 – the same year as the BMW 333i – and was a sporty upgrade of the 325i. Two versions were introduced in limited numbers: 145kW and 155kW (both 2.7 litre naturally aspirated engines). They had a uniquely identifiable ‘iS’ body kit, 15” wheels, full electric package, 25% limited slip differential and M Sport suspension with Bilstein struts. The car has a rich racing history winning local races such as the Stannic Group N Class and Castrol Nine Hour races amongst others.
Currently, BMW Group South Africa’s heritage car collection includes the BMW M1, BMW 750Li Individual by Esther Mahlangu, BMW 325iS, BMW 333i, the last BMW 3 Series (340i) produced by Plant Rosslyn and the first BMW X3 (xDrive30d) to have rolled off the production line.
The end of an enduring era – 35 years of the BMW 3 Series at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn.
February 2018 marked a significant milestone for BMW Group South Africa when its Rosslyn plant produced the BMW 3 Series for the last time after 35 years of production. BMW Group Plant Rosslyn has produced a total of 1,191,604 over five generations of the BMW 3 Series. The current generation of the BMW 3 Series continues its lifecycle and is now produced by other plants within the BMW Group production network.
One of the key milestones of the BMW 3 Series has been the success in founding the segment of the modern sports sedan, establishing itself as the embodiment of driving pleasure in its segment and becoming the world’s top-selling premium car. South Africans even nicknamed each generation of the BMW 3 Series that was produced at Plant Rosslyn. Limited edition models of the BMW 3 Series such as the BMW 333i and 325iS also emerged from the 45-year old plant.
The new BMW X era at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn.
Continuing the legacy of BMW Group Plant Rosslyn, a new chapter in South Africa’s automotive story began in April when BMW Group South Africa started the production of the new BMW X3. At the beginning of May this year, BMW Group South Africa despatched the first proudly South African BMW X3 cars for export, transporting more than 100 units on 27 wagons via train to the Port of Durban. This marked a momentous occasion for BMW Group South Africa as the company’s manufacturing plant at Rosslyn continues to ramp up production of the BMW X3.
Upgrading the plant for X3 production has represented the largest infrastructure upgrade in the plant’s history, but it has gone ahead on time.
BMW Group Plant Rosslyn is a state-of-the-art facility, with BMW X3 production initially planned with a maximum capacity of 71,000 units a year. However, BMW under-estimated the phenomenal demand for the new BMW X3 and, after a further R160m investment to increase linespeed, the maximum capacity of the plant was raised almost 10% to 76,000 units a year. Within this maximum capacity, BMW Group South Africa is confident that the plant will produce record volumes in 2019. This will add to the growing success of BMW’s X models across the world, which now make up more than 30% of BMW’s global volume. The new BMW X era at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn once again demonstrates the company’s commitment to its operations in South Africa.
45 Years of Production – BMW Group Plant Rosslyn.
Production at BMW Group Plant Rosslyn dates back to 1968, when Praetor Monteerders began assembling cars, utilising BMW engines and drive-trains fitted to Hans Glass sheet metal pressed and shipped from Dingolfing in Germany. In 1973, BMW AG took over full shareholding and established BMW Group South Africa (Pty) Ltd with BMW Group Plant Rosslyn becoming the BMW Group’s first manufacturing facility outside of Germany. Since then, the BMW Group has been a major investor in South Africa and its people, with BMW Group Plant Rosslyn moving from a limited vehicle-production plant that merely assembled vehicles with a few customisation possibilities for the local market, to a world-class plant, capable of producing highly customised cars for customers across the globe.