BMW revs up for Amata City plant

BMW revs up for Amata City plant

BMW, the German luxury-car maker, will begin motorcycle assembly for BMW Motorrad at its Rayong plant in the first quarter of 2014.

From left: Heiner Faust, vice-president for sales and marketing, Stephan Schaller, head of BMW Motorrad, and Matthias Pfalz, president of BMW Group Thailand, astride their motorcycles.

The BMW F800R is designated as the first model to be made at BMW's plant in Amata City Industrial Estate, with production of over 100 units a year, said Peter Guenther Wolf, managing director of BMW Manufacturing Thailand.

Local content will make up 40% of the new assembly line.

"Manufacturing here will help cut retail prices for BMW Motorrad, and that will make it more competitive in the Thai market," said Mr Wolf.

"BMW needs to generate big-bike sales with an engine size of 650cc and above, while local manufacturing will help reduce customs tariffs now levied at as high as 60% for the segment."

An imported BMW F800R goes for about 750,000 baht. The exact retail price for the Thai-made bike and the plant's investment costs are undisclosed.

BMW has factories in 28 locations in 13 countries.

BMW Manufacturing Thailand started up in 2000 at an investment cost of 2 billion baht. The Rayong plant is the only site in BMW's global network with full operations for three brands of the group: BMW, Mini and BMW Motorrad.

The local plant began assembly of the popular Mini Countryman in August, seeking to make 200-250 of the cars in the first year.

Matthias Pfalz, president of BMW Group Thailand, said the group aims for double-digit sales growth across the three brands in Thailand this year.

In the first nine months, unit sales of BMW cars stood at 5,569, up 38% from the same period last year, while Mini sales fell by 3% to 330 cars.

Some 268 BMW Motorrad bikes were sold in the first nine months, up 38% from the year-ago period.

In all of 2012, the group sold 5,613 BMW cars and 501 Minis, up 45% and 30%. BMW Motorrad sold 290 bikes, up 37%.

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