COLUMBIA, S.C. - BMW has announced that the company will expand its plant in Spartanburg County with a $1 billion investment, which is expected to create 800 new jobs. The expansion includes the addition of a fifth vehicle platform at the plant - the X7 - and it will increase production capacity from 350,000 units to 450,000 units annually, making the Spartanburg facility the highest-capacity plant in the BMW global system by the end of 2016.
Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of BMW AG, and other BMW executives joined with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Governor Nikki Haley in making the announcement in Greer. Additionally, BMW revealed for the first time the new X4, the latest vehicle model produced in Spartanburg. The addition of the X4 was announced as part of a $900 million expansion in January 2012.
Since the original decision to build BMW's only U.S. plant in South Carolina in 1992, BMW's investment in South Carolina has totaled $6.3 billion. Today's announcement represents its largest, single investment to date in its South Carolina presence and the fifth major expansion of the plant.
Since 1994, the plant has produced seven different BMW models and their variants (318i, Z3, Z4, X5, X6, X3 and X4). Employment has grown significantly from 500 in 1994 to an expected 8,000 by the end of this year. This year marks the 20th anniversary of BMW's start of production in South Carolina in 1994.
BMW's Spartanburg facility produced 297,326 vehicles in 2013 for 140 global markets. More than 70 percent of the vehicles produced (210,670 units) were exported, with the automaker being the Port of Charleston's top user by cargo value as well as a major customer of the new South Carolina Inland Port in Greer.
South Carolina's automotive industry has quadrupled in the past two decades, according to South Carolina Department of Commerce data. The sector employs approximately 46,700 South Carolinians at more than 250 firms. Automotive-related companies are presently in 38 of the state's 46 counties.