The BMW Group is expanding capacity at its BMW Plant Spartanburg in South Carolina. “To meet strong global demand for our BMW X models, we will invest a total of $1,000,000,000 in our Spartanburg plant by 2016. This will increase annual production capacity by 50%—up to 450,000 vehicles from 300,000 currently,” explained Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, at a special ceremony at the factory on Friday, March 28, commemorating twenty years of production in the United States.
Joining Dr. Reithofer were U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker; Governor of South Carolina Nikki Haley; BMW AG Board of Management member for Production, Harald Krüger; and head of BMW Plant Spartanburg, Manfred Erlacher.
BMW X7 to be built in Spartanburg
BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M models have been manufactured so far in Plant Spartanburg, BMW’s center of competence for X vehicles. Friday’s event celebrated the start of production of the BMW X4. Norbert Reithofer also announced a further expansion of the X model family: “With the BMW X7, we are developing another, larger X model, which we will produce at our U.S. plant for our world markets—once again underscoring our commitment to the U.S.”
During the ceremony, BMW AG Board of Management member for Production Harald Krüger talked about the importance of the U.S. to BMW Group’s overall production strategy: “The BMW Group aims for a good balance of growth between all markets and continents. The Spartanburg plant is an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in thirteen countries today. It makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally-balanced growth.”
Krüger continued: “The BMW plant in Spartanburg is the best example of our successful strategy of ‘production follows the market’. The state of South Carolina has supported us as a valuable and reliable partner throughout our twenty-year involvement in the region and played a decisive part in making the U.S. our second home.”
Spartanburg workforce increases to 8,800
The plant’s expansion will significantly increase the number of employees at the U.S. facility. “Expansion at the site will create 800 new jobs, bringing the total workforce in Spartanburg to 8,800,” Reithofer explained. “It will also make Spartanburg the largest plant in terms of production capacity in our global production network,” he added.
According to a study released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the annual export volume of BMW’s Spartanburg plant totals $7,500,000,000 (that's billions)—which makes the BMW Group’s American facility the largest vehicle exporter in the United States, based on total exports excluding NAFTA. Approximately 70 percent of Spartanburg’s production is exported to BMW markets around the world.
A recent analysis published by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina found that BMW Group activities in South Carolina had a total impact of around $16,600,000,000 on the state's economy. The BMW Group’s presence in South Carolina supports a total of 30,000 jobs. The study also cites the importance of the BMW Group for South Carolina’s economic standing, improving technological and manufacturing competitiveness, and establishing a high level of training.
Since the start of production in 1994, BMW Plant Spartanburg has built more than 2,600,000 million vehicles for BMW customers around the world. The models BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M are all produced at the plant. In the near future, a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X5 will also be produced here. A total of 297,326 vehicles were manufactured in Spartanburg in 2013, with around 1,100 vehicles currently produced per working day. The Spartanburg site currently employs a workforce of 8,000.