• Sep 10, 2009


BMW invaded the South in 1993, and it's first U.S.-made product was popped out in September a year later. Fifteen years after that there have been five factory expansions, 5,000 jobs created, a methane gas pipeline installed, a center for automotive research created, a golf tournament started, and 1.5 million combined versions of the 318i, Z3, Z4, X5 and X6 run over the factory threshold. The 1.5 millionth vehicle was an Oyster Blue and Ivory X6 for a Hong Kong customer. Just goes to show those Confederates might have been right: the South is rising again... You can read all about it in the presser after the jump.

[Source: BMW]

PRESS RELEASE

BMW CELEBRATES 15 YEARS OF PRODUCTION IN SPARTANBURG

Produces 1.5 million vehicles for the world

Spartanburg, S.C. – September 8, 2009...On September 8, 1994, the first US made BMW 318i rolled off the line in Spartanburg, SC. Today, 15 years to the day later, BMW Manufacturing's 1.5 millionth vehicle rolled off the line to celebrate 15 years of manufacturing excellence.

The1.5 millionth vehicle, driven in the ceremony by Associate Eileen Huffman, is a 2009 Monaco Blue BMW X6 xDrive 35i with oyster interior. The vehicle is right-hand drive and has been ordered by a customer in Hong Kong.

In addition to remarks by South Carolina's Secretary of Commerce, Joe Taylor; Sky Foster and Ryan Childers, the BMW associates that presented the Spartanburg factory's first vehicle to the world in September 1994 also reflected on their 15 years with BMW Manufacturing.

"Today's events represent a significant milestone for BMW, emphasizing both BMW's commitment to the US market and its confidence in the future," stated Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing. "We are very proud of the positive impact this BMW plant has delivered for this area and the quality of the vehicles that our associates produce for world markets each day."

BMW announced their plans to build the first factory outside of Germany in June of 1992. Construction on the plant began in 1993 and the first vehicle rolled off the line in September 1994. Since then, BMW has produced 5 different vehicles and their variants, the BMW 318i, the Z3 and Z4 roadsters, the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. BMW has expanded the plant 5 times, including the current $750 million expansion to add 1.5 million square feet. Following this most recent expansion, the plant will be 4.0 million square feet.

To date, BMW has invested $4.2 billion in South Carolina and employs about 5,000 people including contractors at the plant. According to the University of South Carolina's Moore School of Business, who conducted an economic impact study on the plant in 2008, BMW's South Carolina factory supports 23,050 jobs and generates $1.2 billion in wages and salaries annually within the state. In addition, the total economic output associated with BMW's annual economic activities is more than $8.8 billion in South Carolina.

Other significant milestones in the plant's history include:

* Landfill Methane Gas Program – originally launched in 2003, infrastructure was installed at the nearby Palmetto landfill to collect, clean and compress methane gas and transport it through a 9.5 mile pipeline to the BMW plant. In 2009, BMW replaced the original 4 turbines with 2 new highly efficient turbines. The new turbines will increase the electrical output from 14. Currently, over 60% of the plant's total energy requirements are provided by methane gas.

* Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) - In 2003, BMW pledged $10 million to Clemson to endow professorships in the graduate automotive engineering program and under the Research Centers of Excellence Act, the state of South Carolina matched the pledge, generating $20 million for the school. In keeping with BMW's original vision, the research and development being carried out at CU-ICAR today is laying the foundation for tomorrow's next big discovery.

* The BMW Charity Pro-Am golf tournament - now headed into its 10th year, has raised more than $7.3 million for over 125 Upstate and Western NC charities

As BMW Manufacturing looks to the future, the plant in Spartanburg will begin production of the BMW ActiveHybrid X6, BMW's first hybrid vehicle, later this year and finalization of the $750 million expansion to build the next generation BMW X3 is well underway. BMW in Spartanburg, SC currently employs 5,000 people including contractors and produces 500-600 vehicles per day.

BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X5 Sports Activity Vehicle and X6 Sports Activity Coupe. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; and a design firm and technology office in California. For more information on BMW Manufacturing, visit www.bmwusfactory.com.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 30 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Dang that things looks like an AMC Eagle
      • 5 Years Ago
      Bad for europe cuz they have to pay more and wait more in order to get X6
      • 5 Years Ago
      for a HK customer? heh, would ya dig that-ALL X6s are made in america
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your point being? Have you any idea the degree of wealth that actually resides in Hong Kong?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Does BMW offer a US delivery program? Just like the European delivery plan only people from other countries come here to drive their new car on our pothole infested, speed limited roads before shipping them off to Asia or where ever?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yup, the Performance driving school is across the street from the factory, and you can have your car delivered there, where you can drive on the track with instruction from professional drivers. It's a pretty cool experience...they also offer European Delivery where you fly over to Munich and pick up your car at the Welt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        South Carolina actually has very nice roads. Dont really have a pothole problem with the climate there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The South rises on the back of tax breaks to foreign automakers while denigrating the same to domestics and at the expense of healthcare and education funding. Bravo! South Carolina - your true colors began shining with the hypocrisy ('God loves me') Mark Sanford) and shined brightest last night at the disrespect to the President.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, I agree. People in the South should not have jobs or do anything to attract business. They should remain poor and do what they can to support lazy, over-paid, barely qualified union hands up North. Oh, and they should suck Obama's stick, just because.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Block my point is obvious.

        I'm pointing out your tendency to paint the foreign interests in these matters as always victim/heroes. You even praise them when the behavior is the result of something you otherwise criticize.

        Trying to attribute some tortured interpretation to my comment to sidestep my real point is sad. And yes, pun intended.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The problem is Bloke, those plants exist to sidestep those minor tarriffs I believe you complain about from time to time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Flanagan - exactly, not to mention the tax revenue therefrom to the state and to the federal government ... and everybody that the company, factory and the employees alike spend their money on to contribute to the local and national economy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Bloke, enjoy your quantum reality. Its uniquely yours."

        JPM, my reality is that of an accountant with some 25 years of dealing with corporate structure in both Europe and North America, a good portion of that within and connected to the motor industry. What my reality isn't is that of a teenager with a massive amount to learn about how this world really works.

        Next you'll be telling me something else ridiculously stupid that could only come from a kid or someone else without any clue, such as profit being the same as cash, how all profits go to other countries, or how all the taxes paid by BMW employees in SC goes to Germany.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Block my point is obvious."

        Are you absolutely sure about that?

        "I'm pointing out your tendency to paint the foreign interests in these matters as always victim/heroes. You even praise them when the behavior is the result of something you otherwise criticize."

        You only see it that way because you can't see beyond your own shores enough to understand what a global economy actually does. For example, if I tarred all of America's major interests in China with the same brush ... which ranges from GM and Ford to Wal-Mart and Home Depot to the likes of HJ Heinz and Alcoa, then I'm quite sure you'd start spluttering. Also, since when have I criticised foreign manufacturers developing manufacturing subsidaries in other countries? It's a boon for any country's economy. It doesn't all go one way, you know.

        "Trying to attribute some tortured interpretation to my comment to sidestep my real point is sad. And yes, pun intended."

        I think you've been on stimulants stronger than coffee. Thing is, you don't have a point. Now, can you answer my question as to how the loss of import duty on 500 units a day outweighs the economic impact of employing 5,000 people in a large manufacturing facility? Thank you.

        • 5 Years Ago
        "The problem is Bloke, those plants exist to sidestep those minor tarriffs I believe you complain about from time to time."

        Tarriffs such as? And can you quantify the loss of import duty on 500 units per day produced in the US compared with the contribution made to the local and national economy by employing 5,000 people, the direct and indirect taxation therefrom, and the amount spent in the US by the company, facility and employees?

        And given that GM and Chrysler have both undergone bankruptcy in the past year, as well as 9.7 million Americans being unemployed, do you think that BMW's manufacturing presence in the US is really that much of a hinderance?

        Or is your point really that moot?
        • 5 Years Ago
        ...or, you know, good job producing 1.5 million vehicles built by Americans.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Yes, but those hypocrites don't say those things when it's time to pump money into our own automakers. You know it's true! C4C, keeping factories churning making Fords, GMs and (ugh!) Chryslers does the same thing, yet those jerks from the South can't wait to denigrate those jobs, those companies, those employees. It's completely and utterly hypocritical (and downright disgusting) to entice non-US manufacturers with tax breaks to our country while doing nothing but pushing our companies closer to the brink of extinction. Now I don't agree with what GM and Chrysler do all the time, but damn I'm not going to ignore what is so plainly a "race to the bottom" that those "patriots" in the South are striving for."

        Grants and tax incentives are usually provided for areas where economic regeneration is needed. Nissan took full advantage of this in north-east England in the mid-1980's. Where was Austin-Rover at the time? Mired by union greed and not interested in capitalising on such incentives. Nissan's Tyne & Wear plant became the most productive in Europe.

        BMW's American subsidiary company benefitted from the tax incentives in South Carolina, not the parent. And please don't reply with the utterly stupid "all profits go abroad" crap, because that isn't the case.


        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, but those hypocrites don't say those things when it's time to pump money into our own automakers. You know it's true! C4C, keeping factories churning making Fords, GMs and (ugh!) Chryslers does the same thing, yet those jerks from the South can't wait to denigrate those jobs, those companies, those employees. It's completely and utterly hypocritical (and downright disgusting) to entice non-US manufacturers with tax breaks to our country while doing nothing but pushing our companies closer to the brink of extinction. Now I don't agree with what GM and Chrysler do all the time, but damn I'm not going to ignore what is so plainly a "race to the bottom" that those "patriots" in the South are striving for.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Um, correction! The BMW plant is in GREENVILLE, not Spartanburg! I'm from Spartanburg county and the BMW plant is about 20 miles from Spartanburg. Although, I have seen X6 and X5/6 M mules around Spartanburg county a couple of times. An X6 mule was near Inman, and I saw an X5 M mule going on the interstate in Landrum. And you can tell Greenville is Bimmer country when you're on I-85 and suddenly every other car is a 1-series cabrio. Looks like the yuppies have a new favorite!
        • 5 Years Ago
        OK, let's try this a third time and get it right: the plant is in Spartanburg County, but has a Greer address: 1400 Highway 101 S, Greer, SC 29651. I verified it the Greenville phone book and on the USPS site. They also have a Greer phone number. They are not in the Greer city limits, however. Note: The Greer city limits are mostly in Greenville County, but go into Spartanburg County.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I grew up in Greer and the plant is definitely in Greer. It is also clearly in Spartanburg county, but not Spartanburg city. An interesting tidbit - there is more automotive related industry within a 500 mile radius of Greenville than there is in Detroit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The plant is located in Greer (in Spartanburg County), but has a Spartanburg address. It's definitely not in Greenville, or Greenville County.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't wait until the 30th anniversary when we look back and "lol" that on their 15th they claimed the "performance.passion.PRIDE" over building an X6. Although I really fear whatever BMW will degenerate down into in another 15 years.
      • 5 Years Ago
      ahh, so this is how BMW keeps their vehicles so price competitive. If only the douchebags wearing those gigantic sunglasses and Ed Hardy T shirts knew where their leased vehicle really came from...
        • 5 Years Ago
        Newsflashes for you:

        -There's a sticker right on the window that tells them where the vehicle was produced.

        -Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson is FULL of "doucebags (sic) with gigantic sunglasses and Ed Hardy T shirts (sic)" and not all drive BMWs. Many can even spell douche bag and T-shirt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm sure Hamhack meant to say:

        "Congratulations to the workers at BMW's South Carolina facility for producing vehicles that are esteemed for quality, style, and performance! Their endeavor has allowed BMW's customers to enjoy a fine German-designed, American-built automobile at a reasonable price."

        / I'm not sure who hamhack was trying to insult worse, the people who built the BMW's, or those who drive them...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Here is a fact that most of you don't know are care about.

      The state makes more money from the employees (income tax) than from a big corporation. Most corporations actually pay less than 10% tax on their profits.

      BMW should further expand their manufacturing here in USA.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The state makes more money from the employees (income tax) than from a big corporation. Most corporations actually pay less than 10% tax on their profits."

        That rate is the effective rate on net profit, not the actual rate on taxable profit. But you're right, taxing jurisdictions get far more tax revenue from income tax than corporation tax.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Those poor people in the back seat of that X6! I hope they don't go over any bumpy roads or they might lose their heads!
      • 5 Years Ago
      If SC can convince the Germans to start manufacturing the engines and transmissions the domestic content would really go higher.
    • Load More Comments