Iconic Automotive Plant Prepares for Major Transition Beyond Combustion Engines
In a significant move signaling the changing tides of the automotive industry, BMW's Munich factory is gearing up for important transformations, preparing to cease production of all internal combustion engine vehicles starting in 2026. Just a year later, the factory will exclusively focus on manufacturing electric vehicles.
A Historic Shift Away from Combustion Engines
The impending shift marks the end of an era that began over 70 years ago at the Munich factory, where BMW initially produced combustion engine vehicles, starting with the BMW 501 in 1952. Nowadays, the factory churns out around 1,000 vehicles daily, including the popular 3 Series Sedan and the fully electric i4 Gran Coupe.
The Munich plant has always been an innovator within the BMW portfolio. In 2015, it became the production site for the first plug-in hybrid 3 Series models. Three years ago, it also unveiled the i4, the first electric vehicle to be produced on-site. With the increasing demand for electric vehicles, one out of every two cars on the Munich factory line is now electrically powered.
Future-Proofing the Munich Factory
BMW is currently revamping the factory to accommodate the upcoming Neue Klasse sedan, constructing four new buildings at a cost of €650 million (approximately $714 million) to house a new assembly line and body shop among other facilities. In preparation, the German automaker has relocated engine production to Hams Hall in the UK and Steyr in Austria.
As stated, production of the sedan will commence in 2026, followed by additional electric models in 2027. This will likely include the soon-to-be-released iX3 electric SUV. After establishing production in Munich and Debrecen, Hungary, the Neue Klasse vehicles will also be manufactured in China and BMW's San Luis Potosi factory in Mexico.
This transformation of the Munich factory is not the first radical change it has undergone. Prior to automotive production, the factory was involved in manufacturing aircraft engines. This recent investment and shift in focus solidify the long-term future of BMW's most iconic plant.
"This comprehensive transformation happening at a time when we currently produce around 1,000 vehicles per day in Munich is a testament to the extraordinary performance of all our employees at the facility," said Director Peter Weber. "We are thrilled to be guiding the Munich factory towards a fully electric future, starting with the Neue Klasse sedan."
The Vision Neue Klasse concept, unveiled last year, serves as a preview of BMW's future design and technological direction. Like the original Neue Klasse, this model is expected to have a groundbreaking impact on the brand, making it fitting for production at Munich's most iconic factory.