Construction of German auto maker BMW Group’s San Luis Potosí assembly plant is on schedule and is expected to begin production in April 2019, with or without NAFTA — the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Plant manager Hermann Bohrer told CNN Expansión that “while there’s uncertainty around the renegotiation and the possibility of a tax [on Mexican imports to the United States], we expect it won’t affect our business model.”
Part of Bohrer’s confidence in the future stems from the fact that while other automotive manufacturers set up shop in Mexico to cater to the United States market, BMW planned since the beginning for its San Luis Potosí plant to produce for the global market.
Project vice-president Raymond Wittmann reported that construction fn the different buildings that make up the plant is currently between 40% and 60% complete.
Bohrer said US $22 million is being invested this year in training 700 employees, a figure that will double by next year.
Once it’s operational the plant is expected to employ 1,500 people directly and 10,000 indirectly.
The manufacturer has signed agreements with 180 Mexican suppliers, 45 of which operate in the state, and with 20 international firms that are also investing in Mexican plants, including the Chinese firm Minghua, a bumper manufacturer.
Wittmann also explained that a 71,000-square-meter solar farm will satisfy 100% of the plant’s electricity needs.
The solar array is part of an innovation plan that will make the San Luis Potosí plant its most technologically advanced in the world, the company said.
With an estimated production of 150,000 units per year, the new plant will be the firm’s third largest in the world.