By integrating the new Mini Countryman into production through their electric offensive, BMW wants to significantly increase capacities at the Leipzig plant again. The Saxony location is currently preparing for a new night shift.

Among other things, another shift is to be introduced in the autumn for the ramp-up of the Mini Countryman at the BMW plant in Leipzig. (Image- BMW)

Another shift is to be introduced in the autumn for, amomg other things, the ramp-up of the Mini Countryman at the BMW plant in Leipzig

The vehicle production lines at the BMW plant in Leipzig are at a standstill. But neither a semiconductor shortage nor farmer’s protests are to blame for this production halt. “We are not currently building any cars, but the factory is by no means standing still,” said plant manager, Petra Peterhänsel, to AMS sister publication, Automobil Production.

“We are currently preparing for the volume expansion and integration of the fully electric Mini Countryman at the Saxony site, for which around 200 individual measures, so-called ‘speed-up measures for individual technologies’, are still being implemented.”

Mini Countryman adds extra layer

The aim is to start a third shift in assembly in autumn 2024 in order, amongst other things, to be able to ramp up the Mini Countryman. The model is the first from BMW’s British subsidiary to be assembled on German soil. Assembly at the Leipzig plant currently runs in two shifts, and a night shift will be added in Autumn. “We then build cars around the clock in Leipzig,” says Peterhänsel. In addition to the Countryman, the BMW models 1 Series, 2 Series, Gran Coupé and Active Tourer will also be rolling off the site’s assembly line.

Petra Peterhänsel at the APK 2024

Petra Peterhänsel at the APK 2024

Petra Peterhänsel will be speaking at the APK 2024

Petra Peterhänsel, Plant Manager BMW Leipzig, is one of the experts to speak at Automobile Production Congress 2024 (APK) on May 16 and 17, 2024 in Munich.

In her keynote, she will talk about the challenges of factory transformation under BMW’s motto “Lean, Green, Digital” on the way to iFactory.

The APK is the leading automotive industry’s conference for production, logistics and purchasing of automobile production and Automotive Manufacturing Solutions. This year’s event has the motto “Flexible, Smart and Sustainable - The Path to Production of the Future”. In addition to Ms. Peterhänsel, Audi production boss Gerd Walker will also be there as a keynote speaker.

All information about the event can be found here.

To expand production volumes and make special adjustments to the mini model versions, BMW has invested around €700 million ($751.4 million) in the Saxony location over the past five years and announced an additional 900 staff positions. “The expansion for up to 350,000 units per year is almost complete,” Peterhänsel confirms. The site currently handles around 200,000 vehicles per year.

Leipzig is becoming a battery hub

Along with other plants in the Munich OEM’s production network, Leipzig is also the focus of BMW’s ‘electric offensive’. Since this year, the plant has two new lines for the carmaker’s fifth generation high-voltage batteries; it also have five cell painting, and three module lines that include almost the entire production process chain for battery production.

The car manufacturer is also building a new logistics centre for high-voltage batteries on a twelve-hectare site near the BMW factory this year, for which the Munich-based company has budgeted around €100 million euros ($107.3 million). The centre is intended to serve as a distribution hub for e-components for other plants in the BMW production network.

This story is a translated version of the original German from AMS sister publication Automobil Produktion, and can be viewed here