|The second generation of the BMW X3 is agile, efficient and sporty. Up to 100,000 units per year will be built in Spartanburg, South Carolina. After receiving the production order the Trier group formed two teams, one in Germany and one in the United States. Both teams worked closely to develop the final part design.
The original order for the so called “Door Claddings” and “Sill Plates” was intended to be produced in Michelau, however, due to NAFTA requirements a major portion of all purchased components must come from NAFTA region suppliers. Hence the program was transferred to our North American subsidiary in Saline. Saline’s Production Manager Franz Ritzel notified the people and suppliers. At the onset of the program both the German and American Teams met in Munich to review the project with BMW. The mutual exchange of information was very efficient says Director Armin Beuthner. “The cooperation with our US Colleagues is already becoming a tradition.
Two Teams, Two Parts, Twice the Success
An experienced team work was essential for the first cladding order. The complex 2c injection molded part consists of a hard and soft component and is optionally available with a painted “bright strips” for the X-Line version of the X3. After development in Michelau, the series tool was built in the USA with the partner tool company Hi-Tech in Michigan. In addition an external painting supplier “Adept” was also brought on board to paint the “bright strips”. “We form a complete production chain from one source,” says Franz Ritzel. Coordination is absolutely necessary because the visual appearance and styling theme were dictated by the German designers at BMW in Munich – no problem for the German team thanks to direct coordination with the tool supplier.
The cooperation for the “Sill Plates” ran just as smooth with no problem. The 2c part also consists of a hard and soft component. After molding adhesive tape is applied to the underside of the part and the BMW letters are inserted prior to shipping to Spartanburg. “The success of the program confirms the benefits of having a production site in the NAFTA region,” emphasizes Franz Ritzel.