BMW Expanding Its South Carolina Plant Is a Good Sign for U.S. Manufacturing

looking at the outside of the BMW factory in germany

Friday’s announcement of BMW’s expansion of a South Carolina plant “will mark another milestone for a factory that’s become a centerpiece of BMW’s global manufacturing strategy.”

The manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina started producing cars twenty years ago. Since then, the plant has expanded its production to be known as one of the industry’s biggest producer of vehicles in North America.

Though the BMW does not originate in America, the plant in South Carolina is the German automaker’s “center of competence.” This manufacturing plant also helped BMW hold up its nine-year lead as the world’s best luxury brand car.

On Friday, March 28th, BMW announced its outline to built the X7–a seven-seat crossover—while expanding its annual capacity to 400,000 units.

Spartanburg, South Carolina is home to the only BMW factory in America and since its beginning in 1994, the factory has produced over 2.5 million vehicles. As well as unveiling its plan to produce the X7, BMW also announced that it would spend $1 billion to expand the South Carolina’s plant output.

This expansion will help boost production by 50 percent within the next two years, which, as Forbes notes, is “one more sign that the United States has become a competitive site for manufacturing and an attractive staging ground for exports.”

This new expansion for the Spartanburg will be the fifth expansion since the start up of the factory 20 years ago. The hope for this expansion is that by 2016, the factory will be able to produce up to 450,000 vehicles a year, while now they only produce 300,000.

The $1 billion investment will also create 800 jobs, bringing the workforce up to almost 8,800 jobs. But why now?

Recently, there has been a stronger global demand for BMW crossover SUVs, much like the future X7.

The chairman of the BMW Board of Management told Forbes that “this expansion means Spartanburg will have the largest production capacity of any plant in our global production network.”

For global BMW factories, this expansion of the Spartanburg plant will become a building block to international networking among BMW’s 28 assembly and production factories around the globe.

The manufacturing industry believed that BMW’s commitment to its South Carolina plant for the past 20 years has been a game changer, and the $1 billion expansion and the creation of the new X7 gives a real testament to how invested companies are in the growing manufacturing economy of the United States.

photo credit: maurizio.mwg via photopin cc