MUNICH – BMW will run its factories above capacity this year, the carmaker's production chief Frank-Peter Arndt told Automotive News Europe.
Arndt said capacity use will be 110 percent for 2011, measured according to the Harbour Report, an industry standard that defines full capacity as two shifts working five day a week.
"But more important than the percentage capacity use is to have the right capacity at the right time in the right place," the executive said in an interview.
BMW also is prepared for a slump in demand in an economic downturn. "I think we could absorb fluctuations of between 20 percent and 30 percent," Arndt said.
He said BMW will produce "significantly" more than 1.6 million vehicles in 2011. "That is not our maximum capacity. That's because we still have some reserved capacity due to the phase-out of the (current generation) 1 series and the 3 series."
BMW will expand capacity in its existing factories in China, India, South Africa and the USA. The company is also considering opening a plant in Brazil to build cars from imported kits.
Earlier this week, German press reports said BMW will pick Sao Paolo, Brazil's biggest city, as the site for its first car assembly plant in Latin America, but Arndt said no decision has been made although he is one the decision will be made before the end of the year. Currently the company is considering several rival locations to establish which best suits the company's needs, he said.