Blame the plunging greenback. Less than a week after BMW announced the expansion of their U.S. Spartanburg plant, we are getting news from Germany that the weak dollar is making it increasingly difficult for the German automaker to keep production on their soil and that layoffs are imminent. Ernst Baumann, BMW's head of personnel, said 5,600 jobs in Germany will be cut by the end of the year. When you add that to the 2,500 positions already eliminated, the total represents about 7.6-percent of BMW's workforce.

While the layoffs are bad news for German factory workers, the flip side of the coin may benefit their American counterparts. With the value of the Euro sitting at more than $1.50 at current exchange rates, European automakers are finding manufacturing on U.S. soil more attractive (read that "cost effective") than ever. BMW manufactured about 155,000 vehicle on U.S. soil last year. By 2012, that number is planned to approach 240,000 cars. BMW sales worldwide reached 198,628 in January and February, up from 191,357 the same period last year. With the new BMW 1 Series and BMW X6 models hitting showrooms in 2008, BMW is forecasting yet another year of increased sales.

[Source: Detroit News]