• Apr 19, 2010
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A volcano in Iceland has caused a world of hurt for European airliners and travelers alike, as thick ash in the atmosphere has caused the cancellation of an estimated 63,000 flights. A new report from BusinessWeek suggests that even the auto industry could be affected by the hazardous ash if airlines continue to stay grounded. BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt has told BW that the German automaker may need to shut down its Spartanburg, South Carolina, which produces the X5 and X6 crossovers if planes remain on the ground more than two additional days.

So, how does the April 14 eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano control the fate of manufacturing in South Carolina? BMW ships transmissions and other components from Germany to its sole U.S. plant via air. If BMW can't get parts to Spartanburg soon, the plant will be temporarily shut down. A bit of good news has come in the past 24 hours, though, as scientists say the volcano currently isn't shooting any ash into the atmosphere, though seismic activity in the area of the eruption is still said to be very high.



[Source: BusinessWeek]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 23 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      The air carriers were put on notice at the end of last year when the volcano erupted the first time. There was always the possibility that it could spew ash in a subsequent eruption. Yet these companies are seeking compensation.

      Somehow the people should pay for their ill-preparedness.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Forgive me if I sound ignorant, but aren't the cars/parts shipped by, um, well, ships?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The assembled cars do leave via ship if they're going out of the country, typically via Charleston. But indeed a runway at Greenville-Spartanburg had to be made longer when the plant was being built in order to accomodate the incoming cargo planes (the plant is very close to GSP).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Looks like BMW doesn't.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sweet Hey Zues! No wonder they are so damned expensive. Who else ships heavy production parts by air? Strange.....
      • 4 Years Ago
      RGN, ship to a coastal shipyard, then load on a train. Geez. Are you messing around?

      I know Mitsubishi uses ships and trains. Air-lining heavy parts sounds expensive. Guess they make up for it in the final cost. :)
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dear God,
      Please let people who report news for a living learn to spell the word 'halt'. Thank you.

      The Public
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think that you two need to read the whole post. All it says, is that BMW ships parts ie// transmissions to the US plant, not vehicles; therefore, the US plant will not be able to continue assembling the sport utes due to lack of parts
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just begin making those parts Stateside. Of course that can't happen overnight but it would be nice for the U.S. economy for BMW to increase the U.S.-made content.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am not sure if BMW has any interest in increasing their US made content. BMW is a German company so they will probably continue to make most of there parts here, the X5,6 and soon X3 are only made in the US because that's the biggest market for Rhodes cars.
        When talking about cars "Made in Germany" stands for quality!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Not really. Many VWs are made in Germany and the reliability is horrible, while many other Audis are built in Slovakia and sold worldwide and customers rave about their German quality.

        A well-trained and educated workforce in the U.S. will do no worse than a similar crew in Germany. And the fact that the X5 and X6 is assembled in the U.S. is probably not even known to many buyers of these cars who gloat about their Made in Germany cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They ship by air? Gee, no wonder their cars are overpriced
      • 4 Years Ago
      That's no reason to shut down the factory. If 80% of 1-series owners think their cars are front wheel drive, then I doubt X5 owners would notice the transmission is missing.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hopefully this will halt all BMW production except the Z4 GT3 and others like it,(the only cars in a long time worthy of being called a BMW-The Ultimate Driving Machine, in my opinion)
        • 4 Years Ago
        BMW only makes X5 and X6 (soon X3) at that plant.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ships are nice, but very slow.. Then you have to wait for the ship to be unloaded and drive the containers to the plant... The shorter the time between manufacturing of the part in question and when BMW can sell the car to a dealer, the less money it needs tied up in each vehicle.. Large scale global manufacturing logistics have to take into consideration a lot of financial factors...
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Hault" is not a word in the English language.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Well, that's one reason those overpriced POS yuppie barges cost so much.
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