BMW has opened a new motorcycle assembly line at the company’s factory in Thailand. The facility will initially only produce F800R roadsters from complete knock-down kits for the Thai market, though BMW plans to eventually make the facility a production hub for other Asian markets.
The Thai facility is BMW’s first wholly-owned motorcycle assembly plant outside of Germany, though the company does share facilities in Manaus, Brazil with local manufacturer DAFRA Motos. Motorcycles for other markets will continue to be produced out of BMW’s Berlin factory.
The new motorcycle production line occupies 13,000 sq-ft. of the Rayong, Thailand, plant which now becomes the company’s only facility that produces both BMW motorcycles and cars as well as Mini automobiles.
“The motorcycle assembly in Rayong is an important next step in implementing BMW Motorrad’s growth strategy,” says Stephan Schaller, head of BMW Motorrad. “With the local production of the BMW F800R, we will strengthen our market presence in Thailand. We expect significant sales increases in this growing market in the years to come.”
Until now, BMW motorcycles were produced in Berlin and then imported to Thailand, resulting in higher prices for consumers due to import levies that can add as much as 60% of the cost.
“As the BMW F 800 R is produced locally, it comes with an affordable price tag, which in turn means that we will be able to step up our market position in the long term,” says Schaller. “The first BMW motorcycles made in Thailand will be available through the BMW dealership network from the first quarter of 2014 on.”
For the immediate future, motorcycle production will be in very limited numbers, as the motorcycle production area makes up only a tiny fraction of the 18.5-acre Rayong plant. The Bangkok Post reports the initial goal will be to produce 100 units a year.
Down the road however, BMW plans to produce other models at Rayong for Thailand and other Asian markets.
“This is the first time that we use an own BMW plant location abroad for our motorcycle production. In the medium term, we will explore further options on how to expand BMW Group Plant Rayong in order to include the production of additional BMW motorcycle models for other Asian markets,” says Schaller.
[Source: BMW, Bangkok Post]