Production Process

To this point in the process, BMW team members have worked meticulously to prepare the canvas. Now begins the work of our finish team to fill the vehicle with a unique combination of components, options, and luxuries that will make this BMW as distinctive as its owner. This is Assembly, where it all comes together.

The body – formed, painted, and protected – waits in the stacker, arranged in order. Sequenced parts such as instrument panel, front end, and powertrain are at the ready in other areas of the plant. What follows is a careful and intricate performance involving the flow of parts and precisely-timed processes. From this point on, every vehicle has a name.

  • All computers and controls in Assembly are linked together by nearly 16,000 miles of communications cables.
  • Ergonomics are very important in the Tilt area. Carriers position the car so associates can install parts on the underbody.
  • Doors are removed from the car body and travel via an overhead conveyor to a separate door assembly line.
  • On the door line, the glass, water seals, mirrors, airbags, speakers and other trim pieces are installed.
  • The doors then travel on an overhead conveyor back to the main line and are reunited with the same car body.
  • The Wiring Harness is the “nervous system” of the car’s electronics.
  • The contents of the Wiring Harness bag are heated to about 100 degrees, which makes the thick wiring harness pieces more flexible and easier to install.
  • The Wiring Harness is routed throughout the cabin, trunk, and engine area and fastened to the car body with clips and wire ties.
  • A transponder is on every hood. This device helps track the car throughout the Assembly process.
  • The paper taped to the car is the Build Sheet. Digit codes tell associates which part goes on the car.
  • Powertrain is a separate assembly area. The engine, transmission, front/rear axles, and other parts are assembled here.
  • A floor transport system is used to move the powertrain to the “Marriage” area.
  • Engine Marriage is where every car becomes a BMW. The entire powertrain is raised as the car body is lowered.
  • Fluid Fill: Most all fluids (radiator, brake, power steering, coolant, gas) are added here.
  • We use a special gas that has additional cleaning agents and lubricants to help with the first car start-up.
  • Roll Booth: The car is driven on rollers at speeds up to 85 mph, giving the engine and transmission its first good test.
  • At Final Inspection, associates closely inspect the interior and exterior. Then the car is driven off the line.
  • BMW Manufacturing exports about 70% of its cars to more than 140 markets throughout the world. Charleston, SC, is our primary port.