BMW of North America has selected Jacksonville, Florida for the site of its fourth regional parts distribution centre and will begin construction in the coming weeks.

The 140,000 square-foot facility will support 45 BMW and Mini dealerships in the 'sunbelt' states of Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina.

The centre will hold about 70,000 different parts and employ up to 50 people, most hired locally.

Completion of the new distribution centre in the Westside Industrial Park, is planned for late 2002.

BMW's investment in the new Jacksonville facility, which will be staffed and managed by Nashville-based third party logistics firm Ozburn Hessey, is estimated at $32 million, including $20 million in inventory.

BMW has three other parts distribution centres in the US. The largest is in Mount Olive, New Jersey and the other two are in Ontario, California, and Senatobia, Mississippi.

Sales of parts and accessories were up approximately 15 percent in 2001 over the previous year.