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BMW Factory Tour

From: Regensburg, Germany

Take a free public tour of BMW's modern automobile plant in medieval Regensburg, Bavaria.


ABOVE AND BELOW RIGHT: Robots spot-weld a BMW Series 1 car in the Regensburg factory's body shop. BELOW LEFT: An aerial view of the plant.

photoRegensburg, Germany's medieval center has earned a place on the UNESCO World Heritage list, but the city has its modern side, too--including a state-of-the-art BMW plant where some 10,000 skilled workers produce the BMW 1 Series, 3 Series, M3, and specialized vehicles such as police cars. Since the factory opened in 1986, more than three million BMWs have emerged from its flexible assembly line.

photoLike other BMW facilities, the Regensburg plant offers tours to groups and individuals. Each tour lasts two to 2.5 hours, and it lets you walk right into the middle of the action: During your visit to the body shop, for example, you'll be surrounded by giant conveyors that lift car bodies into place for automated welding by computer-controlled robots.

Other highlights include the "wedding" or "marriage" of engines and car bodies (with a cluster of automatic bolt-drivers rising up to lock the engines into place) and a final-assembly line where cars from different series--many of them customized for individual buyers--are put together one after the other in a remarkable display of logistical efficiency.

Whether you're a liberal who's concerned about worker welfare or a capitalist who values productivity and quality control, you'll be impressed by the thought that has gone into making the assembly line "worker-friendly." Examples:

  • As cars move along the line, assembly teams ride with them on a moving belt instead of trying to walk and perform assembly tasks at the same time.

  • Conveyors and other devices position car bodies at the most comfortable level for each task. (For example, near the end of the line, where license plates are bolted on, the cars are lifted up so workers don't have to bend down.

  • The plant is cleaner and better lit than many people's kitchens, and there's less noise than you'd expect. (I've worked in newsrooms that had less charm than the BMW factory's assembly line.)

If you're visiting Regensburg, don't miss the BMW Werk plant tour. For more information, including Web links, see below.

BMW Regensburg factory tour information:

Regensburg BMW plant tour

ABOVE: The BMW plant's flexible assembly line handles cars from different series at the same time--and to make workers more productive, cars are lifted automatically to the right height for each assembly task.

Tour times and dates. Tour schedules vary, depending on whether you're an individual signing up for a public "mixed group" tour or booking for a group. Use the BMW links below to see what's available during your visit to Regensburg.

2o22 update:

  • The pandemic upended BMW's tour schedules. When we last checked in late 2022, the Regensburg factory hadn't yet reopened to public tours. (Only trade tours and other "closed groups" were allowed.) Consult this BMW page for up-to-date information.

Location. The BMW Werk is located on the eastern edge of Regensburg, not far from the A3 Autobahn's Exit 101 (Regensburg-Ost) on the way to Passau.

The local RVV transit system's Bus 7 runs to the factory from Albertstrasse.

Related Web sites and articles:

BMW Group Plant Regensburg
This English-language page is geared to job applicants, but you'll find more information in German here.

BMW International
Find an official BMW site in your own country or visit BMW Welt, which has information on the BMW Museum and BMW plant tours in the company's headquarters city of Munich.

Our 11-page guide to this delightful medieval city on the Danube is accompanied by several other articles and an 89-image Regensburg photo gallery.

More about Regensburg:
Regensburg, Germany - 11-page city guide
Document Neupfarrplatz
Regensburg photo gallery

More German car museums and attractions:
Car Tourism in Germany

About the author:

Durant Imboden photo.Durant Imboden is a professional travel writer, book author, and editor who focuses on European cities and transportation.

After 4-1/2 years of covering European travel topics for, Durant and Cheryl Imboden co-founded Europe for Visitors (now including Germany for Visitors) in 2001. The site has earned "Best of the Web" honors from Forbes and The Washington Post.

For more information, see About Europe for Visitors, press clippings, and reader testimonials.

Photos copyright © BMW AG.