BMW has made it official - there will be a flagship crossover called X7, and it will be built right here in the US of A. The announcement was made today, confirming rumors of the new model at the Spartanburg, SC factory that broke earlier this week.

"Plant Spartanburg was built to enhance and expand the BMW lineup, underscoring the BMW Group commitment to the United States" said Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the BMW board of management in a statement. "In addition to the X3, X5, X6, and the new X4, we are today announcing another all-new, larger X model to be manufactured exclusively at this plant for our world markets: the X7."

BMW will spend $1 billion by 2016 upgrading its South Carolina factory, which already produces the X3, X5 and X6. The plant is currently capable of producing 300,000 units per year, but with the big investment from BMW, capacity will climb to 450,000 units. 800 jobs will be added as a result of the investment and new and upcoming models.

We don't have any particulars on the new models, but compared to BMW's recent batch of niche-busters, a straight-up, full-size three-row utility to challenge the likes of the Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz GL is about as mainstream as BMW has done in a long time. Once some details on this new model arrive, we'll be sure to let you know about it. Until then, scroll down for the full press release on the announcement from BMW.
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BMW Group Expands its Commitment in the USA

Commits US $1 Billion investment by 2016; Extends X family with new BMW X7; Increases plant capacity 50% up to 450,000 vehicles; Creates 800 new jobs; Starts production of the new BMW X4; Celebrates 20 years of production in the USA

Spartanburg, South Carolina – March 28, 2014 1:00pm EDT/10:00am PDT...Celebrating 20 years of production in the USA, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management, BMW Group, today announced plans to invest US$ 1 billion in the company's South Carolina plant: "We will expand the plant's annual production capacity by 50% up to 450,000 vehicles by the end of 2016. Today's capacity is around 300,000 vehicles. This investment will also create an additional 800 jobs, increasing the total workforce to 8,800 on site."

At the event held at the plant, Dr. Reithofer was joined by U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker; South Carolina Governor, Nikki Haley; BMW Group Board member for Production, Harald Krüger; and President of BMW Manufacturing, Plant Spartanburg, Manfred Erlacher.

BMW X7 to be built at Plant Spartanburg

The additional investment will be used to increase capacity, which is necessary to meet strong global demand for BMW X models. "Plant Spartanburg was built to enhance and expand the BMW line-up, underscoring the BMW Group commitment to the United States" said Dr. Norbert Reithofer. "In addition to the X3, X5, X6, and the new X4, we are today announcing another all-new, larger X model to be manufactured exclusively at this plant for our world markets: the X7."

Harald Krüger, Board of Management member for Production explained the important role of the US for the BMW Group production strategy: "The BMW Group strives for a good balance of growth among all markets and continents. The Spartanburg plant is an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries today and makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally-balanced growth."

He continued: "Our US plant is the best example of our successful strategy of 'production follows the market'. The state of South Carolina has supported us as a valuable and reliable partner throughout our 20-year involvement in the region – making the United States our second home."

BMW Group in Spartanburg: largest U.S. automobile exporter

Norbert Reithofer: "We are expanding BMW Plant Spartanburg as our center of competence for production of BMW X models and broadening our product portfolio. This expansion means Spartanburg will have the largest production capacity of any plant in our global production network. This plant already exports, on average, 70% of its annual production with a 2013 value of more than US$ 7.5 billion which, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, makes BMW the largest U.S. vehicle exporter to non-NAFTA countries."

Since production began 20 years ago, in 1994, the Spartanburg plant has produced over 2.6 million vehicles for BMW customers around the world. Currently the BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M are all produced at the plant. The event also celebrated the start of production of the all-new BMW X4. In the near future, a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X5 will also be produced here.

BMW Group economic impact on South Carolina

In addition to its large-scale capital investments, a new study just released by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, reports that the BMW Group has a US$ 16.6 billion annual impact on the state economy. Its presence in South Carolina supports more than 30,000 jobs throughout the state.
The study found that for every job created at the BMW plant, an additional three jobs are created elsewhere in South Carolina through the economic multiplier effect.

"This is the fifth expansion since production began 20 years ago and represents another major investment," said Manfred Erlacher, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. "The increase in annual capacity, the number of models produced, and the number of jobs on site, reinforce the major role BMW is playing in the region's economic vitality through technological innovation, environmental stewardship, and development of a highly skilled workforce."

In 2013, a total of 297,326 vehicles were manufactured in Spartanburg, with 1,100 vehicles currently produced per working day. Total employment at the site reached 8,000 in March 2014.

BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group's global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 339 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 35 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group's sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.

Journalist note: Information about BMW Group and its products in the USA is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.


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  • 17 Comments
      wat
      • 9 Months Ago
      Two problems with what you wrote, Autoblog. 1) "...there will be a flagship crossover called X7." It will not be a crossover. It will be a full-sized SUV. It says so on the press release. 2) "which already produces the X3, X5 and X6" They also currently produce the X4. The press release photos include pictures of them coming off the assembly line, even a random set of them building the X4.....
        urbansophistic
        • 9 Months Ago
        @wat
        Autoblog is the most visited automotive enthusiast site in the world, yet they can't seem to be bothered to edit their articles for grammar, general errors, omissions, or consistency.
          vassyg16
          • 8 Months Ago
          @urbansophistic
          Yeah but Top Gear is the most watched automotive show in the world and they can't even be bothered to give James a decent haircut.
          vassyg16
          • 8 Months Ago
          @urbansophistic
          Yeah but Top Gear is the most watched automotive show in the world and they can't even be bothered to give James a decent haircut.
      cameron
      • 9 Months Ago
      It's strange we haven't even seen spy shots or anything from this car yet it has the green light for production? Interesting...I just picture an X5 of steroids really.
        Carmaker1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @cameron
        It's not strange at all, as you are not going to see spy shots this early. The design department has recently chosen the final design, meaning to account for time to approve the design concept by management (3+/- years before SOP-launch). After that both design and engineering departments still need time to test feasibility of and productionize the chosen design proposal. After final design board approval, approximately 30 months between final design freeze and production start in late 2016/early 2017 will still remain. One should expect to see test mules of such a vehicle around the "freeze" stage (possibly mid-2014), with actual prototypes months after in late 2014.
        Carmaker1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @cameron
        It's not strange at all, as you are not going to see spy shots this early. The design department has recently chosen the final design, meaning to account for time to approve the design concept by management (3+/- years before SOP-launch). After that both design and engineering departments still need time to test feasibility of and productionize the chosen design proposal. After final design board approval, approximately 30 months between final design freeze and production start in late 2016/early 2017 will still remain. One should expect to see test mules of such a vehicle around the "freeze" stage (possibly mid-2014), with actual prototypes months after in late 2014.
        Carmaker1
        • 9 Months Ago
        @cameron
        Correction: According to BMW, they've recently approved the final X7 design, after which production feasibility of the design was needed to be tested, which starts about 3 years ahead of production, and the design freeze is 30+/- months ahead of production. At times it has been about 6 months between a design approval and final design freeze, which again is around 30 months ahead of production at BMW. Approximately another 6 months are employed in developing and constructing the prototype(NOT mule) bodies of a future model.
      Austin
      • 9 Months Ago
      BMW has lost touch with their roots :/
      Adrian Elliot
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yeah. I'm sure it will sell like hotcakes. Just like the X6.
        ffelix422
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Adrian Elliot
        Actually, the X6 sells very well thank you. The X7 will most likely be twined with the soon-to-be-announced; Rolls Royce SUV.
      carguy1701
      • 8 Months Ago
      The first gen GL-class was pretty damn imposing, so this, logically, will be twice as imposing.
      Level4
      • 9 Months Ago
      good move BMW...altho their lineup has balloon to much...
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