Wednesday, October 1, 2014

First Brazilian BMW to be produced September 30

by Viviane Biondo | viviane.biondo@autodata.com.br

Slightly more than 2 weeks are left before the BMW plant in Araquari, in the northern region of  the state of Santa Catarina, begins the commercial production of its first model, the Series 3 sedan.

The historic mark will happen on September 30, revealed ArturoPiñeiro, president and CEO of Grupo BMW Brasil, on Wednesday, 10, during the launch of the electric i3 and the hybrid i8 models in São Paulo.

The official inauguration of the Brazilian unit is scheduled to occur shortly thereafter, on October 9.

The schedule will be quite hectic in Araquari: by the end of this year, an additional BMW model hould go into production, followed by three other models that will complete the local production mix throughout 2015, in three-month intervals.

However, the welding and painting processes will only begin during the 2nd semester of next year.

Until then, the bodies will arrive ready and painted, from abroad. The plant, therefore, in the initial stage, will only do the final assembly.

The executive estimates that once the other two production processes have begun, the number of employees at the facility should increase from the current 400 to 1.3 thousand by the end of 2015.

The plant, which has an installed production capacity of 32,000 units and is the result of more than€200 million in investments, will not possess the stamping processes or production of engines and

“In order to compensate the investment in the engine lines, for example, a systematically higher volume of production would be needed, of more than 300,000 units.

Since the local cost makes it unviable to export, for now, we will only do the assembly of the aggregates locally.”

The proximity with the automotive park installed in the state of Paraná is a significant issue to Piñeiro.

“Throughout time, some suppliers should establish themselves near Araquari. However, many of them are located in the state of Paraná, nearby, which undoubtedly is an advantage, or even in Santa Catarina, previously attracted to the state by General Motors. Approximately 80% of our global suppliers are in the country, helping to set local purchases. One of our confirmed suppliers is enteler.”

Market – Grupo BMW’s car sales projection for 2014 in Brazil is 16,000 units, according to its president, similar to last year’s volume of 14.7 thousand units, plus 2.3 thousand Mini units.

“Our forecast is for a stable market, with a timid growth. Consumer confidence is low and many are
postponing purchases. The premium segment is growing, but the speed of increase of the more sophisticated models is reduced.”

According to the executive, the potential sales volume in the premium segment in Brazil should be
equivalent to 3% of the total domestic market in 2018, which would account for a volume ranging between 86,000 and 100,000 units per year.

“Last year, the segment totaled 47,000 units. This year, it should close around 49-50,000 units, that is, 1.5% of the total market.

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