A report from Washington State television station KXLY claims that BMW is looking to build another manufacturing facility in North America, but it doesn't appear to be a vehicle assembly plant. The TV station claims BMW and partner SGL Group will announce plans to build a carbon fiber plant in Moses Lake, WA within the next few days or weeks. The site would reportedly bring 200 jobs and $200 million to the region; very good news in an economic downturn. BMW officials had reportedly touched down in Washington to look for appropriate land for the top-secret project, which is rumored to be called "Project Chinook" by Moses Lake officials.
The rumored facility would build carbon fiber parts for BMW's upcoming electric vehicles, which are slated to hit the streets by 2015. Last November BMW announced its partnership with SGL, citing the goal of making cost-competitive, large scale carbon fiber components to cut more weight from its vehicles. BMW tells us the first vehicle to utilize extensive carbon fiber isn't an M1 replacement or the heir-apparent to the Z8, but instead the Megacity hybrid-electric vehicle.
By making carbon fiber parts in North America, BMW would likely save quite a bit of money versus building the components in Europe. But is BMW going to build components for an electric city car here in the States only to have parts shipped back to Europe for assembly? We're thinking if our Bavarian friends do announce a carbon fiber facility in Moses Lake, there's a chance the company could decide to build the Megacity here as well.