BMW Manufacturing has marked the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking for its South Carolina factory by announcing an additional $US400 million investment in the Z4 and X5 facility, creating 400 more jobs.

BMW also announced it will establish a $10 million endowment at Clemson University to establish a graduate engineering program that will offer masters and doctoral degrees in automotive engineering.

The increased capacity will help achieve the BMW Group's goal of increasing worldwide production from about 1 million to 1.3 million vehicles by 2007. The Spartanburg County factory is an integral part of BMW's global production network, and in 2001, one out of six BMWs sold throughout the world was produced at the South Carolina facility.

The state Department of Commerce also will fund a new Interstate 85 interchange at Brockman-McClimon Road near BMW Manufacturing to handle additional traffic created by BMW's capacity increase.

BMW Manufacturing has invested almost $2 billion in its 2.4 million-square-foot plant to date.

The company originally pledged to employ 2000 ‘associates’ by the year 2000 but had actually hired 3,000 associates by then and today employs more than 4,400.

Vehicle production has also increased to meet growing customer demand. Production has grown from 51,878 units in 1999 to 121,680 vehicles in 2001 with production projected at more than 120,000 units for 2002 and at more than 150,000 units for 2003.

Production of the new Z4 roadster began earlier this month and the factory will face a rapid production ramp-up, reaching at least 230 roadsters a day and bringing the total daily production rate to more than 600 by the beginning of 2003.

The 400 new positions will be filled in the next several months.