The first engines have started to roll off BMW’s £400 million engine plant at Hams Hall, Cowley near Birmingham. Claimed to be the most modern engine production facility in the world, the facility currently produces some 20 engines per day and employs 450 people. By the end of the year, daily production will rise to over 600 engines, requiring a workforce of 650 associates.
In the first year of production, Hams Hall will build some 60,000 engines and will play a crucial role in BMW’s international production network as the ‘centre of competence’ for the production of all BMW 4-cylinder petrol engines between 1,6 and 2,0 litres capacity using Valvetronic technology.
This innovative replaces the throttle butterfly with a variable valve control, allowing the engine to breathe more freely and without any throttle losses. The positive result is not only an improvement in power and performance, but also a significant reduction in fuel consumption and exhaust emissions.
Engines will be exported to the BMW vehicle assembly plants in Germany (Munich, Regensburg and Dingolfing), South Africa (Rosslyn) and the USA (Spartanburg). At full capacity, the Hams Hall plant, will be capable of producing over 400,000 engines per year and will employ 1500 people.
Within a week of job advertisements being placed in regional newspapers and broadcast on radio stations in the West Midlands at the end of last year, almost 9,000 people telephoned the freephone number to express their interest in working at Hams Hall. As part of the selection process, applicants are currently being invited to special weekend ‘open days’ before being formally interviewed. In view of the large number of applications, this is a process, which will take several months to complete.
Hams Hall’s Plant Director, Colin Mitchell, is delighted at the extremely positive public response to the job opportunities being offered by BMW: ‘We have been overwhelmed by the quantity of applications and extremely encouraged by the quality of the applicants. Employing the best people is an essential element of BMW’s continuing success internationally and will be a crucial factor in enabling Hams Hall to match the world-class standards of excellence set by BMW’s production plants in Germany and elsewhere in the world.’
The Hams Hall plant will be officially opened on 8 February at an event hosted by BMW Board Chairman Professor Joachim Milberg. Guest of honour will be the Rt Hon Andrew Smith MP for Oxford and Chief Secretary to the Treasury.