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: To RobG - how ZBB got job w/ BMW in Munich

ZBB 325Ci
12-25-2001, 09:05 PM
I've been off the board for a few days over the holidays... Anyway, back on the "Where's TD" thread, RobG asked how I got the job at BMW and what is was like working there...

About getting the job, I was sitting in german class one day in college when the professor said that if anyone was intersted in a summer job in Europe to go to a meeting on Fri afternoon. I went and there is a program for about 20 west coast schools that places people in jobs in Europe for the summer so you can practice your language skills -- most are working in a department store or something, but the guy mentioned the jobs he had with BMW -- all on the assembly line. I pushed to get that job (the guy that ran the program tried to get me to change my mind a couple times, but I insisted and it worked!)

As for what it was like to work in BMW's Munich factory -- it was interesting. I worked on the M50 engine line (a predecessor to the M54 in my car!) and actually was the person that put the dipstick in the engine (and a couple of other odd things). The neat thing was having access to the plant -- we went back one afternoon and walked the entire line from where the panels come in, start to get welded into a car, the pait room, final assembly, the whole bit -- amazing. For example -- in the paint room, the cars are on a line only about 2 feet apart, but they will paint red and white cars right after each other. They also test every engine made -- a couple of guys working on the same program worked in the test area -- after the engines pass the build inspection, they go downstairs to be tested -- fired up and run for a couple minutes. overall an awesome summer.

by the way, here's my original post on the ZBB story for those that didn't see it:
Zuruck Bleiben Bitte Story
It was an inside joke between the other Americans I worked with at the BMW factory in Munich during the summer of '92.

Zuruck Bleiben Bitte is the German equivalent of "All Aboard!" (literally means please stay back) -- and the Munich Subway was our main form of transport that summer -- we lived 2 blocks from the factory and otherwise didn't need a car. Anyway -- the subway driver will look back and say their own slurred version of Zuruck Bleiben Bitte before closing the doors. One Saturday, the group of us (about 6 - all US college students who had gotten a job in the factory for the summer), made a bet to see if any of the drivers would let us say ZBB. It took a few tries, but we finally got one driver to let us. After that, all of us took our turn whenever we had some time to kill. I think the drivers must have though we were weird tourists or something, but we had a laugh out of it!

By the way -- my job for most of the summer was on the M50 engine line (the inline 6). If you drive a '92 325 or 525 built in June-Aug, there is a 50% chance that I helped build your engine.

12-25-2001, 09:09 PM
thats soo cool....:)

12-25-2001, 09:24 PM
I used to drive a 92 325i and it was a lemon! Hey!!! I have found you!!

Nah...I am just must be quite an amazing experience for you. :)

Best wishes,


ZBB 325Ci
12-25-2001, 10:45 PM
your '92 must have been made the day I decided to get a beer during my break...

(They do have beer machines right next to the coke machine in the factory -- not a problem to have one. I did one day for fun)

12-26-2001, 08:22 AM
Very cool story. I would love to do that-- even now (I've been out of school for 6 years). I lived and worked in Munich for a year, and went on the BMW factory tour several times! Of course, after living there, renting numerous BMWs and touring the factory, I couldn't resist coming home with a BMW of my own. How was the general attitude of the workers? Are the engines built mostly by 1 person- or on a standard assembly line? Maybe I need to go back to school. :) Munich is a great city, isn't it. I can hear the Munich subway conductor saying "ZBB" in my head now.

Alex Baumann
12-26-2001, 08:30 AM
Not a fun city as Munich though, but you guyz may like to check the new BMW Leipzig plant website, where the next 3-Series will be produced. There will be about 5000 jobs available.


BMW Leipzig (

ZBB 325Ci
12-27-2001, 01:08 PM
The engines are built on a regular assembly line. The M50 that I worked on had some stations that were robotic, but most stations had a person putting something on... The quota back then was 390 engines per shift (2 shifts a day, 5 days a week).

The line I worked on was more-or less shaped like 2 U's -- the engine blocks came up from below and went down a line that was maybe 100 feet long, made a U-turn and came back about 10 feet away from the other line. Then they made another U turn (but a longer base -- they had an inspection & fix area there before the engine continued). Then another U turn. I worked on the last stop before the final inspection and fix area. Interestingly, about 2/3 the way through, the engine is filled with oil, which was helpful in inserting the dipstick (and there was a special technique to do that -- if you didn't do it the proper way, it is really hard to get the dipstick out!

The next line over whas for the then-brand new V8. It was on a virtual line and was really cool -- took up less than 1/2 the space as the M50 line and each engine rode on a robot that would move from assembly station to assembly station. If it didn't pass inspection, it could be sent back to the station for correction!.

We never found the V12 assembly area, but did find the room with all the parts stored. the V12s are/were aparently built by hand.

By the way -- I did ED on my car last summer and it was great to be back in Munich for a couple days!