BMW Werk München
Company 20.05.2022 8 Min.
Shaping the future at BMW Group Plant Munich.

The BMW Group celebrated its 100th anniversary with a centenary event at its main plant. The nerve centre of the company will continue to play a prominent role in the future with its transformation into the BMW iFACTORY.

The BMW Group celebrated its 100th anniversary with a centenary event at its main plant. The nerve centre of the company will continue to play a prominent role in the future with its transformation into the BMW iFACTORY.

It all began on 20 May 1922: an extraordinary general meeting of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG approved the sale of the engine manufacturing business, the aluminium foundry and its company name to Bayerische Flugzeugwerke AG. Since then, BMW’s headquarters have been located on Lerchenauer Strasse in Munich, in the heart of the Milbertshofen district. A historic moment both for the BMW Group and for the city of Munich.

The centenary event underlines the importance of the main plant. “Our roots are in Munich. This plant is where it all began. And this is where the future will be too,” said Milan Nedeljković, Member of the Board of Management for Production at BMW AG. Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, emphasised how all stakeholders work so closely together: “When I see what we are achieving together here at the main plant in Munich – around 7,000 employees, the company, the works council, the city and the local residents – it gives us self-confidence and optimism. We have been ploughing our own furrow at BMW for over 100 years.”

The Mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter, was one of the many guests invited. He spoke of a “strong commitment to Munich as a business location”.

Its location in the heart of the Bavarian capital is one of the factors that make the main plant so special. “This is a high-tech production site,” Milan Nedeljković emphasised. “Around 900 top-quality BMW vehicles leave this plant every day. Five different models with all drive types. This is not only testament to our high flexibility, but also the enormous experience and expertise of the people who work here. They are the driving force behind everything that happens here.”

BMW Fertigungsstrasse
BMW Werk München

Source: BMW Group Historical Documentation Center; Photographer: Kirchbauer

Source: BMW Group Historical Dokumentation Center

Plant Munich stands for change and flexibility.

The plant in Munich has always been symbolic of transformation – built to shape tomorrow. The production facility has successfully stood for continuous change for 100 years. The first BMW motorbike, the R 32 model, was manufactured here between 1923 and 1929. The factory had now made the leap from being an aircraft and built-in engine manufacturer to a road vehicle supplier. In 1952, automobile production started at the Munich plant with series production of the BMW 501. A classic followed in 1955, with production of the BMW Isetta starting in the spring of that year. The Motocoupé was successful and guaranteed secure jobs in Munich. The BMW Group’s most successful model to date rolled off the production line at the main plant in 1975: the BMW 3 Series. The production facilities for the mid-range vehicle were rebuilt at the Munich plant. The automobiles could now be assembled in the body shell according to customer specifications. All of the following six BMW 3 Series generations were destined to be manufactured at the main plant.

The milestones kept coming: in 2016, the ten millionth vehicle rolled off the production line at the Munich site and the main plant received the Ludwig Erhard Prize for top performance in the German economy. At the same time, the BMW Group celebrated its centenary in the neighbouring Olympic Park. The year 2018 saw the start of production of the seventh BMW 3 Series generation at the main plant. The successful transformation continued relentlessly: production of the BMW i4 started in Munich in autumn 2021. “In the space of just three years, we have evolved from a pure ‘combustion engine’ plant through to the hybrid and up to the all-electric i4,” explained plant manager Peter Weber. “This means that we now produce five different models with all drive types on a single production line. This is the clearest indication that this plant takes transformation in its stride and epitomises change and flexibility.”

Mehrere BMW Isetta vor dem Werk München

Source: BMW Group Historical Documentation Center; Photographer: Gehner, Wolfgang, Spenge

The heart of the BMW Group beats at Plant Munich.

This constant change shows what the main plant in Munich is all about: this location has always had the future firmly in its sights; this is where the heart of the BMW Group beats. Processes and technologies reach other production sites around the world in conjunction with the BMW Group Research and Innovation Centre (FIZ). Project i, the think tank for sustainable mobility of the future, from which the BMW i3 emerged, had its origins at Plant Munich. A small series of the first all-electric MINI E was produced at the Munich plant as part of this project.

A quarter of the vehicles leaving the factory already have a fully electric drive. Next year, every other vehicle produced in Munich will be an all-electric BMW i4. “This means that in 2023, the main plant will already hit the target set for the BMW Group worldwide to achieve in 2030, namely a battery electric vehicle share of at least 50 per cent,” said Oliver Zipse at the ceremony to mark the plant’s centenary.

LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL. – the path to the BMW iFACTORY.

One of the keys to Munich’s success story has been its location in the heart of the Bavarian capital. The main plant has continued to develop alongside the urban residential area in the immediate vicinity – and will continue to do so in future. The plant in Munich remains a model of innovation. It will become the BMW iFactory in line with the production strategy. LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL. In Munich – as in all its plants around the world – the company is bringing a new dimension of efficient, sustainable and digital vehicle production to life. An impressive number of applications has already been implemented at the Munich plant around LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL.

A new body shop will be built on the site of the former paint shop, and the company will construct a completely new assembly line for production of the all-electric NEUE KLASSE from 2024 onwards on the site of the current engine shop. This transformation will also entail changes to the structure of the location in the Bavarian capital. In autumn 2021, the BMW Group, in close cooperation with the city of Munich, announced the “BMW Munich – Urban Production” international architecture competition. The goal was a long-term structural development of the inner-city production site. The inspiring visions from the two winning firms OMA from Rotterdam and 3XN from Copenhagen form the basis for the development of a master plan. This plan will fully align the 100-year-old plant in Munich with the futuristic principles of the BMW iFACTORY.

Schwarz-Weiss Bild aus der BMW Motorradfertigung

Source: BMW Group Historical Documentation Center

A forward-looking location for the coming decades.

The result combines the best elements from competition designs that the two winners submitted. Their vision for the future of production at the BMW Group plant in Munich now forms the basis for the development of the BMW iFACTORY master plan to further align Plant Munich to the LEAN. GREEN. DIGITAL. principles. “This will keep the Munich plant a competitive and forward-looking production site for the coming decades,” said plant manager Peter Weber. The planned structural improvements and the associated production processes will generate the highest levels of flexibility and efficiency, sustainable processes and outstanding digitalisation for Neue Klasse production.

Efficiency, sustainability and digitalisation.

“The BMW Group headquarters in Munich has already seen extensive changes in its 100-year history, but never before to the extent of this vision. This is a powerful commitment by the BMW Group to this unique production site in the heart of Munich,” said board member Milan Nedeljković. “BMW Group production is showcasing the automotive production of the future with its BMW iFACTORY. Efficiency, sustainability and digitalisation are coming together to shape a unique production campus where people and production coexist in complete harmony with living and industry.”

The concept integrates itself into the cityscape masterfully in this interplay of production and urban environment. Transparent and open exterior façades open up insights into the car production of tomorrow, openly designed working worlds network employees and technologies. At the same time, newly designed levels create natural green spaces that regulate the microclimate in the plant. The BMW Group once again underlines its social responsibility by maintaining and modernising the main plant. Social, ecological and economic sustainability are central building blocks of this vision in equal measure – meaning this prestigious location will play a prominent role for decades to come.

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