US: BMW plans 50% capacity boost

By just-auto.com editorial team | 10 March 2008

BMW will spend $US750m expanding its Spartanburg plant in the US to boost production capacity from 160,000 to 240,000 units by 2012.

The plant will grow in size by 140,000 m² - or 60% - to 370,000 m², and 500 new jobs will be created.

"The expansion will also lead to a hike in purchase and export volumes into and out of the NAFTA region, which will contribute considerably to the BMW Group's natural hedging strategy," the automaker said in a statement.

After the expansion, Spartanburg will make the X3, X5 and X6 models for world markets. Z4 sportscar production will be moved to Germany.

"Centralising our know-how for X models in Spartanburg will enable us to work even more efficiently going forward. In addition, it was a logical step for the BMW Group as a global player to increase production capacity in its largest market," said BMW board member Frank-Peter Arndt.

The three-year construction project includes a new 112,000 m² assembly facility to accommodate the next generation X3. The current model is built by Magna Steyr in Austria. The existing body shop will be modernised and the paint shop will expand by 28,000m², or 80%.

"The boost in production capacity will positively impact the logistics, suppliers and distribution networks that support the manufacturing processes," said BMW Manufacturing president Josef Kerscher.

While the supplier network may grow, existing supplier companies will ramp up operations to provide automotive parts for the higher production levels, doubling parts container traffic and significantly increasing exports through the Port of Charleston.

BMW has invested $3.5bn in its South Carolina operations to date. Its North American supplier network has grown from 22 in 1992 to 194 companies today.