BMW plans to move production of the next generation Z4 sports car from its US plant at Spartanburg, South Carolina, to Regensburg, Germany. A report in Automotive News said that the move will take place in 2009 or 2010.

The move is aimed at centralising the development and production expertise of particular vehicle types in BMW's plants, according to remarks made by BMW's Bunny Richardson in the US.

Under that policy Spartanburg would become an 'X' SUV/crossover specialist. BMW plans to begin building a new crossover, the X6, in Spartanburg in 2008, AN said.

Production of the smaller X3 crossover will also move to Spartanburg from contract assembler Magna Steyr's plant in Graz, Austria, with the next generation, likely in 2010.

Regensburg currently builds the 1 series and all variants of the 3 series, including convertibles.

"All of this production movement is about gathering know-how," Richardson told AN. "For the X models, that will be Spartanburg. For the convertibles, that's Regensburg."

The Z4's departure will not affect BMW's plan to increase capacity in Spartanburg from 140,000 to 200,000 vehicles annually in the mid-term, Richardson added.