BMW has opened a new extension to Plant Dadong, under its China joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd (BBA).

The plant will simultaneously launch production of the BMW X5 with extended wheelbase in its new extension, exclusively for the Chinese market. The X5 has so far only been made at the BMW Group’s US plant, in Spartanburg.

BMW says the new plant extension offers additional production capacity globally.

“Plant Dadong proves the strength of our team”, says Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production: “Despite the challenges of the last three years, this complex construction project was completed fully on schedule. Our Chinese production sites are highly significant for the BMW Group. Last year almost one in every three BMW Group vehicles delivered around the world was manufactured in Shenyang.”

Besides the newly introduced BMW X5, Plant Dadong produces the BMW 5 Series and X3 for the Chinese market. It is also the only facility to make the fully electric BMW iX3 for the world market.

Together with BBA’s second facility, Plant Tiexi, it produced a combined total of more than 700,000 vehicles last year, making Shenyang not only the highest-volume manufacturing location of the BMW Group but also the largest premium manufacturer in China. Plant Tiexi produces the BMW 1 Series and 3 Series as well as the BMW X1 and X2. In the summer, the new plant, Plant Lydia will open, as the home of the new BMW i3, a fully electric 3 Series made exclusively for the Chinese market.

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With the local Powertrain plant, which manufactures combustion engines as well as high-voltage batteries, Shenyang will be home to four production facilities. Extensive R&D work is also carried out there. Since 2010, the joint venture BBA has invested around 83 billion RMB in plants, facilities, projects and R&D activities in Shenyang.

In its upgraded form, Plant Dadong now has a footprint of 910,000 m2 – the equivalent of about 125 football pitches. It accommodates a press shop, a bodyshop, a paintshop and a single roof integrated logistics and assembly building with two independent production lines. The bodyshop is equipped with the KUKA’s largest Titan robot with a loading capacity of 1.3 tonnes for underbody grabbing.

Further investments have also been made in sustainability, BMW says. Nearly 80 percent of finished vehicles in Shenyang are wholly or partially transported by rail. With nine railway lines plant Dadong has the biggest railway station in all BMW Group plant structures. The press shop offers clean separation of scrap aluminium and steel for circularity, thereby making a major contribution to the further reduction of CO2 emissions. The paintshop in Plant Dadong has already achieved zero fresh water consumption, and energy consumption efficiency is set to be increased even further, BMW maintains.

Plant Dadong’s solar array has also been upgraded. This year, its 179,000m2 of panels are expected to produce more than 21 MWh of energy from renewable sources. BBA Shenyang production base now owns 290,000 m2 covered area of solar panel system, ranking No.1 in Liaoning Province. In addition, the plant has introduced further charging points in car parks for employees to charge their cars.