Artist's impression of the BMW plant in the Mexican state of San Luis PotosiEnlarge Photo
It was almost four years ago that we first heard BMW was considering building 3-Series sedans in Mexico, and now the automaker has confirmed it.
BMW on Thursday started construction of a plant in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi and said it expects the first cars to be rolling off the line in 2019.
The 3-Series sedans to be built in San Luis Potosi will be the next-generation model, which has been spotted testing in prototype form and is due for a reveal sometime next year. Most of the cars built at the plant are expected to be exported to the United States.
2018 BMW 3-Series spy shots - Image via S. Baldauf/SB-MedienEnlarge Photo
Mexico is seen as an ideal location for a number of automakers due to the country’s lower wages and free trade agreements with the United States and Canada as well as some Asian and South American countries. Expanding its production footprint will also help BMW speed up delivery times and hedge against currency fluctuations.
Not surprisingly a number of BMW’s rivals have confirmed plans to build cars in Mexico. Audi will start building its next-generation Q5 in Mexico later this year and Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz have both confirmed plans to build next-generation versions of some of their compact cars south of the border.
BMW’s new plant will initially have an annual capacity of 150,000 units and employ around 1,500 staff. It joins the German automaker's growing list of plants in the Americas, including the Spartanburg, South Carolina plant that specializes in SUVs as well as two smaller facilities in Brazil.