South Africa would no longer produce the BMW 3 Series, and all new 3-Series would be imports, most likely from Thailand. South Africa’s Rosslyn plant would now be turned into the production plant for the new BMW X3. While this might be good for BMW on production costs, it is likely to translate into extra costs of the car for all future BMW 3 Series fans in Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho and South Africa. This is because cars not assembled in South Africa have always carried an extra dollar on their price tags when sold within the common market area of the Southern Africa Customs Unions (SACU) member states. BMW did not address the price aspect when they announced the discontinuation of the 3 Series production.
Perhaps, though the Rosslyn plant would be remembered for giving BMW fan club the ‘Gusheshe’, ‘The Dolphin’ and the ‘G-String,’ all three different models that still elicit smirk smiles from BMW die-hard fans, young and old.
And it all starts with the ‘Gusheshe’, second generation BMW 3 Series that until today is an epitome of what a car should be for drifters. ‘Gusheshe’, which is loosely translated to mean ‘to go fast’ or ‘disappear in an instant’, was produced from 1983 to 1992, with a new design, optimised aerodynamics, more space and comfort, extra power and additional body and engine variants were all part of the mix.
The new car’s lines were significantly tauter and smoother than those of its predecessor, and its drag coefficient had been reduced by almost 15 per cent. All model variants, regardless of engine size, were now fitted with twin circular headlights as standard. Although the second-generation 3 Series offered four centimetres of extra legroom inside, its body was actually three centimetres shorter than the previous model. The front indicator lights were relocated from the wing tip into the bumper. The most sought after engine was the 333i and the 325iS, which were exclusive to the roads within the SACU member countries.
This was followed by the “The Dolphin” in 1990 with extremely elegant contours and a thoroughly overhauled spread of technology. The car was available from launch as a four-door for the first time. The body had grown significantly in terms of exterior dimensions to create an even more comfortable and safer passenger compartment, and it offered occupants noticeably more space.
Then came the “G-String” BMW 3 Series in 1998. The name came from the design of its steering wheel, its proportions, lines and stylistic elements represented an expression of sporting elegance and left no doubt that the BMW 3 Series had established itself once and for all as the unmistakable
From now on BMW 3 Series Sedan would only be manufactured at BMW Group Plants in Munich, Regensburg, Araquari in Brazil, Chennai in India, Rayong in Thailand and Mexico. It is also produced at the BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) Joint Venture in China as well as partner plants in Russia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Egypt.
The BMW’s Rosslyn plant would now be turned into the production plant for the new BMW X3, which will be sold locally and exported to Europe. At total of N$6,2 billion was pumped into the Rosslyn manufacturing facility to enhance production line speed.
“We look back with great pride over an extraordinary career path of the production of the five generations of the BMW 3 Series at Plant Rosslyn. Over the years, the development of our production and export programme has been the catalyst for our sustainable growth and contribution to the South African economy. With the imminent production of the new BMW X3, we remain a committed and engaged corporate citizen dedicated to the upliftment of South Africa and its people,” says Tim Abbott, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BMW Group South Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
“Plant Rosslyn is an important part of the BMW Group’s international production network. The success story of BMW Group South Africa continues,” said Hülsenberg.