GERMANY: BMW denies production shift towards US

By just-auto.com editorial team | 21 December 2004

BMW has no plans to shift production of its cars to the United States, according to a Reuters report.

The denial came after industry magazine "Automobilwoche" reported over the weekend that BMW's upgrade of its US plant would enable it to build cars there.

"There is no basis for speculations about relocation of production from other plants of the BMW Group to the Spartanburg plant," the firm said in a statement cited by the news agency.

BMW reportedly said its Spartanburg site would be modernised over the next few years to increase its production flexibility. The firm currently builds the X5 offroader and the Z4 roadster cabrio at the plant in South Carolina.

The firm said the modernisation had been planned for some time and was not linked to current exchange rates, Reuters added.

It noted that German daily Die Welt reported in November that BMW was considering building its planned sports wagon at its US plant.

Building cars in the United States would help protect the company from foreign exchange fluctuations without the use of expensive financial instruments, analysts told Reuters.

Many analysts were forecasting BMW's earnings to drop by hundreds of millions of euros next year, due to the continued slide in the US dollar, Reuters said.

The news agency noted that rival DaimlerChrysler's luxury unit Mercedes-Benz has said it would build the new R-Class in the United States, where the company currently manufactures the M-Class offroader.