Blog: The Zentrum, Spartanburg
Dave Leggett | 9 March 2006
The trip to BMW’s Zentrum at Spartanburg today was worthwhile. We heard some more about the reorganisation that took place at the end of last year to create a single production line. A time lapse film of the process revealed just what a mammoth logistical exercise it was, with the removing and reinstalling much of what was the X5 line, losing much of the Z4 line, installing new machinery and in the transformation process virtually gutting and then renewing the whole interior of the Spartanburg facility. Just the shell was retained. The whole thing took just 5.5 weeks.
Current production capacity at the plant is put at 590 units a day on a 100-hour week basis. BMW seems determined to grow sales of the Z4 (seen as key to the brand) though it was acknowledged that its particular segment is ‘stressed’. From what I can gather, my earlier thoughts on the third model for Spartanburg were about right – 2008 to market.
How was the Z4 M? Quick. But then so was the Z4 2.5i Sport that retails around a quarter less. Z4 M only really makes sense if you are taking the car on a race circuit occasionally and want to take it near to its limits.
The Zentrum, next to the Spartanburg manufacturing plant, has quite a few cars on display. There's a Z1 (the doors retracted into the sill, remember that?) and the cute little Isetta was much in evidence. Tomorrow, the Z4 product manager will be here to talk to us which ought to be interesting.
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