BMW said Friday it would spend $1 billion to boost production at its South Carolina assembly plant by 50 percent in the next two years, one more sign that the United States has become a competitive site for manufacturing and an attractive staging ground for exports.
It will be the fifth expansion of the Spartanburg, S.C., plant since BMW first started producing cars in the United States 20 years ago. By 2016, BMW will be able to produce up to 450,000 vehicles a year, up from 300,000 currently. The investment will add 800 jobs to the site, increasing the total workforce to 8,800.
The expansion is needed to meet strong global demand for BMW’s crossover SUVs, including a new, larger model announced Friday, the BMW X7. Spartanburg already produces the X3, X5, X6, and the new X4 crossovers. A new plug-in hybrid version of the X5 will be introduced soon.
“This expansion means Spartanburg will have the largest production capacity of any plant in our global production network,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the BMW Board of Management. “This plant already exports, on average, 70% of its annual production with a 2013 value of more than $7.5 billion which, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, makes BMW the largest U.S. vehicle exporter to non-NAFTA countries.”
“The BMW Group strives for a good balance of growth among all markets and continents. The Spartanburg plant is an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries today and makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally balanced growth,” said Harald Krüger, BMW’s production chief.
Since production began 20 years ago, in 1994, the Spartanburg plant has produced over 2.6 million vehicles for BMW customers around the world.
Source: Forbes Auto