The BMW SA Plant Rosslyn. Picture: SUPPLIED/BMW GROUP SA
The BMW SA Plant Rosslyn. Picture: SUPPLIED/BMW GROUP SA

BMW SA is suspending vehicle production at its Rosslyn, Tshwane assembly plant because of falling export demand and to protect its workers from the coronavirus, BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse said on Wednesday morning.

Rosslyn will join BMW plants in Europe in closing down from the end of this week. Zipse hopes they will start building vehicles again on April 20.

BMW SA builds the X3 SUV, with more than 90% of production going to export markets.

Zipse said the whole group is experiencing reduced demand for its products because of the global economic havoc being wrought by coronavirus.

He said BMW has given up hopes of a record sales year, and that 2020 will be “significantly below” 2019.

The Rosslyn closure decision comes the day after the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (Naamsa) issued a statement saying that no SA vehicle assembly car plants had immediate plans to suspend production.​

furlongerd@businesslive.co.za