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BMW Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Plant Zero Prototype Factory

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On: Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 3:35PM | By: Chris Weiss

BMW Takes Us Behind the Scenes of Plant Zero Prototype Factory

When the BMW pickup car reared its uber-rad head a few weeks back, you were probably thinking something like "WTF is that and where did it come from?" Well, the first answer has already been cleared up: it's a rather tongue-in-cheek prototype that BMW built in celebration of April Fool's Day. As to the latter question, well, it comes from Munich, where it will debut on April 1.

As if to give us a more thorough, enlightening answer, BMW released a five-minute video clip about the facility it calls 'Plant Zero'. Named as such because it's the plant where every BMW—and the processes that are used to build it—originate; Plant Zero is the place where BMW magic begins. BMW doesn't cite the pickup car specifically, but since the facility is responsible for all of BMW's prototypes; this is the place where it happened.

"Each of BMW's manufacturing facilities is assigned a number—Leipzig, Plant 7; Steyr, Plant 5; South Carolina, Plant 10. But ask anyone about Plant 0, deep inside BMW's Research and Innovation Center in Munich... and they've never heard of it."

And thus begins our journey behind the scenes of one of BMW's most secretive—and important—plants. Essentially the seed plant for Bimmer, Plant Zero, also known as the Experimental Vehicle Shop, builds the first version of every new BMW to hit the market. It also builds one-off prototypes like the pickup car and the other M3-based prototypes that BMW will show on April 1. BMW calls it the first prototype plant of its kind.

In addition to prototypes, Plant Zero is charged with testing and improving processes for developing and manufacturing vehicles.

If you're a BMW fan, or just interested in how the increasingly complex luxury car goes from a designer mind's eye to hard reality, the video below is for you. You'll see how BMW improves manufacturing, how it meticulously tests each tiny piece of the car to ensure seamless performance, and even how camouflage has evolved to become more effective.


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