BMW to run its factories above capacity this year

In an interview with Automotive News Europe, BMW production chief Frank-Peter Arndt says the plants will run at 110% capacity for 2011. Full capacity is defined by industry standard Harbour Report as two shifts that work five day a week.

The demand for BMW vehicles remains high, with the new X3 and 5 Series outputting record numbers. Last month, the Munich-based automaker reported sales of 128,446 units, a 9.3 percent increase over the same month last year.

Arndt says that having the “right capacity at the right time in the right place” has more importance than the percentage capacity use. He believes that BMW could handle absorb fluctuations of between 20% and 30%. According to the production boss, BMW is still on course to deliver 1.6 million vehicles this year. In early 2012, production will ramp up with the introduction of the new 3 Series and more 1 Series vehicles.

BMW will be increasing the capacity of its current plants in China, India, South Africa and the U.S.

BMW continues to look at a new plant in Brazil. Initially, the Brazil plant would be a “complete knock-down” (CKD) assembly plant, where components are shipped from Germany or other primary component manufacturing plants, and assembled locally. BMW currently operates similar plants in Egypt, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia, and Thailand.

The Brazil plant would be BMW’s first plant in Latin America. Arndt clarified though that a decision will be made before the year ends.

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