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BMW’s flagship factory will only make electric cars from 2027

Plant Munich, home of the 3 Series, will make EVs only in just three years

Published: 10 Jan 2024

Big news from BMW: its historic Munich factory will exclusively produce electric vehicles from 2027. The moment will draw the curtain on decades of tradition as the company shifts apace towards its e-mobility goals.

Plant Munich produced its first car, the BMW 501 saloon, back in 1952, with many of the firm’s big-hitters popping out of BMW Group’s ‘parent factory’ since. Perhaps most crucially it’s where the original Neue Klasse kickstarted BMW’s prosperous modern era – the delectable 2002 its big icon – and it’s where the neue Neue Klasse will hope to write a similarly successful new chapter when production begins in 2026, a year before internal combustion car production concludes at the factory.

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For now, the plant continues to produce both 3 Series and i4 saloons on the same assembly line. BMW set a new production record in 2023, in fact, with nearly 1000 cars a day being pumped out of Munich, around half of which are currently EVs.

Paving the way for them all being EVs is a 650 million euro investment (around £560m) that’s already seen lots of construction begin, with four new buildings including a new assembly line and body shop. To make way, engine production halted in 2023 and has been fully shifted to Hams Hall in Britain and Steyr in Austria, ending over a century of ICE manufacturing in Munich.

“Munich is the beating heart of BMW,” says Plant Munich director Peter Weber. “As in the 1960s, a Neue Klasse is again laying the foundation from which our plant is reinventing itself. We are delighted to be guiding the Munich plant into a fully electric future, starting with the Neue Klasse sedan."

Yep, a saloon rather than a crossover. Though (perhaps inevitably) an SUV will begin the Neue Klasse era a year earlier, with a replacement for the iX3 being pumped out of BMW Plant Debrecen in Hungary from 2025. But the beginning of Bavaria’s bold new era should appease the purists; assuming the car in question sticks closely to the Vision Neue Klasse concept, it’ll clothe traditional three-box proportions in recognisable design cues. Hofmeister kinks, subtle kidney grilles… Perhaps it might lure more luddites to make the leap of faith to e-mobility, too.

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Neue Klasse production will also take place in China and Mexico, while Hungary will make the high-voltage batteries underpinning a new 800v architecture. But this investment proves BMW still firmly believes in its flagship Bavarian home by Munich Olympic Park. Handy, given that’s where its rather excellent museum and towering Vierzylinder office also reside. Catalysing Plant Munich’s next chapter is the increased digitalisation and AI utilisation of BMW’s ‘iFactory’ principle.

Exciting times? Or another mournful day for the cars we know and love? Vent your thoughts below…

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