After years of construction and planning, BMW has opened its new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.
Built at a cost of more than $1 billion (£786 / €885 million), the plant will build the new 3-Series. The facility already employs 2,500 people and will have the capacity to build up to 175,000 units annually.
Unsurprisingly, the plant is pretty high-tech as BMW says screens have “largely replaced paper throughout the assembly process.” Speaking of which, the company is using digital job cards for the first time. Another first is the use of smart maintenance software which will enable “proactive maintenance throughout the plant to be planned ahead of time, thereby increasing equipment availability.”
BMW’s board member for production, Oliver Zipse, said “The new plant in San Luis Potosi is an important pillar of the BMW Group’s global production strategy.” He added “Plant San Luis Potosi will significantly boost our regional production flexibility in the Americas. From here, we are delivering our locally produced BMW 3-Series Sedan to customers worldwide.”
The opening comes at an awkward time as the United States is set to impose a five percent tariff on all goods imported from Mexico on June 10th. That tariff will continue to climb, up to 25 percent, until Mexico takes “effective actions” to prevent drugs and migrants from pouring into the United States.
While the tariff will hit Mexican-made vehicles particularly hard, BMW’s board member for purchasing and the supplier network said “Every BMW Group vehicle today already contains at least one part from one of our 220 Mexican suppliers.” That means the tariff will also impact BMW models made in America including the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7.