Excellent prospects for BMW Group in Upper Palatinate – Plant Regensburg investing and continuing to hire

Regensburg. Prospects are looking good for the BMW Group in Upper Palatinate: Plant Director Armin Ebner is extremely optimistic for 2024. “Since we added a night shift in autumn of last year, our daily production has already increased by about 300 vehicles, to 1,300 currently. Our total annual production for 2023 was 238,301 vehicles.” This means that, last year, nearly one in ten BMWs produced worldwide came from Regensburg.

“This confirms the strong customer appeal of the compact class models built in Regensburg, the BMW X1 and the BMW X2,” underlines Ebner. The second generation of the BMW X2 went into production in Regensburg in November. The global market launch of the vehicle manufactured exclusively at BMW Group Plant Regensburg took place on 2 March. Its main markets will be China, the US and Europe.

Production of new BMW iX2 at the BMW Group Plant in Regensburg – car assembly (10/2023)
Production of new BMW iX2 at the BMW Group Plant in Regensburg – car assembly (10/2023)

Ebner anticipates a further increase in the number of vehicles produced in Regensburg in 2024. To be more precise, the plant will be able to manufacture well over 300,000 units per year, if justified by market demand. Production of electric models, in particular, is expected to increase significantly: In 2024, at least one in three BMWs leaving the BMW Group’s Bavarian vehicle plants should be an electric car – and the same applies to Regensburg.

“With the BMW iX1 and BMW iX2, we will continue to inspire customers around the world with fully-electric driving pleasure from Regensburg,” says Ebner. Europe is a particularly important sales market for the fully-electric BMW iX2. In its domestic market of Germany, for instance, the BMW iX1 was Germany’s ninth most popular electric car, with 14,694 new vehicle registrations in 2023, according to the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

High-voltage batteries for the electric cars built in Regensburg are produced at the Leibnizstraße site, in direct proximity to the vehicle plant. “Our location in Leibnizstraße provides valuable support for the transformation. The fact that we produced more than 100,000 high-voltage batteries here last year is evidence of the successful ramp-up of electromobility in Regensburg,” explains Ebner. To meet differences in customer demand across all regions of the world, Regensburg will also continue to build vehicles with an internal combustion engine as part of the mix on the same assembly line.

Commissioning of battery testing centre in Wackersdorf from mid-2024 

The Wackersdorf location is also set to become a major facilitator for electromobility: “The first deliverables from our new battery testing centre will enter into regular operation in Wackersdorf from mid-2024 onwards,” says Ebner. The new testing centre, covering an area of more than 8,000 square metres, will be integrated into the site’s existing building structures. Here, high-voltage batteries and other electric powertrain components for future BMW Group models will be put through their paces in a very early phase of development – well before the start of production.

A building with history: Once intended as reprocessing facility, “hall 80” now symbolizes Wackersdorf site’s electric future. (09/2023)
A building with history: Once intended as reprocessing facility, “hall 80” now symbolizes Wackersdorf site’s electric future. (09/2023)

600 new hires planned by end of 2024

This high level of production is also reflected in the development of employee numbers. “We already hired more than 500 new staff in 2023. For 2024, we are planning on recruiting another 600 for our production,” explains Ebner. The site is looking to hire employees in areas with skills shortages, such as maintenance and electronics. “But we will also be offsetting natural attrition caused by people leaving the plant due to age,” Ebner continued. BMW Group Plant Regensburg will recruit 120 new apprentices in the summer as well. “This will include training eight apprentices for our planned new site in Straßkirchen here in Regensburg.” The BMW Group’s core staff at its Regensburg and Wackersdorf locations in eastern Bavaria currently totals around 9,250 employees.

Production of new BMW iX2 at the BMW Group Plant in Regensburg – car assembly (10/2023)
Production of new BMW iX2 at the BMW Group Plant in Regensburg – car assembly (10/2023)

€ 200 million investment in securing long-term future – gearing up for production of NEUE KLASSE from second half of the decade

By the end of 2024, a total of around € 200 million will be channelled into the Regensburg and Wackersdorf locations. Ebner: “The prospects for both sites look very good. This renewed investment will help us secure the long-term future of both facilities. At the same time, it is also an investment in Upper Palatinate as a location for industry.”

At the same time as building the current models, the vehicle plant in Regensburg is also preparing for production of the next model generation, which will ramp up in the second half of the decade. “With the NEUE KLASSE, the company aims to set new standards for digitalisation, electrification and circularity – and we are already gearing up for this in Regensburg. During the production break over the New Year, we completed the first major modifications, including for our vehicle assembly. Further extensive structural measures will be implemented at the turn of the year 2024/2025,” explains Ebner.

Armin Ebner, head of BMW Group plant Regensburg (10/2023)
Armin Ebner, head of BMW Group plant Regensburg (10/2023)

Extensive resource conservation initiatives
BMW Group Plants Regensburg and Wackersdorf are also investing in resource conservation. Initiatives range from transport logistics to biodiversity, and from water management to new, resource-efficient production methods. “For example, at the start of the year, we converted one of our paint shop’s two base coat lines entirely to dry separation using limestone powder. The second line – due to production reasons – will be switched in August 2025.”

This method will save the BMW Group plant sites in Regensburg and Dingolfing a total of 17 million litres of water and around 17,400 megawatt hours of energy per year. “Converting the painting process moves us another step closer to the BMW Group’s aim of reducing CO2 emissions throughout the entire vehicle lifecycle by 40 percent by 2030,” emphasises Ebner.

BMW Group Plant Regensburg also invested in water-efficient practices in 2023. Refurbishing its re-cooling systems has reduced the plant’s total water consumption by a fifth, saving around 53 million litres of water per year.

BMW Group plant Regensburg, paint shop (12/2023)
BMW Group plant Regensburg, paint shop (12/2023)

Digitalisation in line with principles of BMW iFACTORY

As it implements the BMW iFACTORY, the BMW Group is also focused on digitalising the Regensburg plant site to create a digital and intelligent connected factory. “We are following a holistic approach that brings together people, processes and systems. Digitalisation optimises processes and helps our employees do their jobs – because people will continue to be the backbone of our production,” says Ebner.

For example, BMW Group Plant Regensburg is the automotive industry’s first plant worldwide to use an end-to-end digitalised and automated process for inspection, processing and marking of painted vehicle surfaces in standard production that relies on robots controlled by AI (artificial intelligence).

BMW Group plant Regensburg, car assembly: Smart maintenance using artificial intelligence – Predictive maintenance (11/2023)
BMW Group plant Regensburg, car assembly: Smart maintenance using artificial intelligence – Predictive maintenance (11/2023)

“My aim is for us to be a pioneer, shaping change together with our outstanding plant team, so we can defend our leading global position – and so mobility ‘made in Upper Palatinate’ can continue to inspire people all over the world in the future,” sums up Ebner.

BMW Group Corporate Communications
Saskia Graser, head of Communications Regensburg and Wackersdorf
Cell phone: +49 151 6060 2014, Email: Saskia.Graser@bmw.de