3 Series production will be moved to... where?
BMW fans love to rant on and on about their cars' German build quality and precision engineering. Well, now they may only be able to brag about one of those things. According to Automotive News, BMW will shift production of North America-bound 3 Series models to Mexico starting in 2019. The company is investing over $1 billion into its Mexican plant which will build over 150,000 Series models each year. The 3 Series is set to be redesigned in 2018. The components for the new car will be built elsewhere, then assembled in Mexico.
The current 3 Series that's sold in the US is built in Germany and South Africa, although South African production will cease after Mexican production begins. Other German car companies like Volkswagen already take advantage of Mexico's lower labor rates, growing supply network, and free-trade pacts. As a benefit, Mexico has reportedly given BMW $236 million in local aid in order to create 1,500 jobs and invest over $1 billion by 2024. As part of the deal, BMW will not have to pay state and local taxes for 10 years. The 4 Series, which is based on the 3 Series, will continue to be built in Germany, although the Mexican plant will probably have one more model along side the 3 Series.
This case opens up a very interesting question. Do you care where your car is built? Many people have admitted to buying their car simply because it was American. Even when their "American" car is usually a Challenger, which is built in Canada, or a Fiesta, which is built in Mexico. What about buying a Honda Accord, which is built in Ohio? Does it really matter where the car is built, or are you content knowing that the company gets the money in the end? It's the workers who get paid to build the car that really determine the car's origin, so all new 3 Series owners in the US can go out and buy a Mexican flag license plate for their Mexican car.