BMW of North America CEO Ludwig Willisch is anxious to get the Bavarian brand's $1-billion upgrade at the Spartanburg, SC, factory done because the automaker can't keep up with demand for its crossovers. The expansion should boost total capacity there to 450,000 units a year and support production of the upcoming X7.

Still, Willisch would love to have more crossovers as soon as possible. "That is a constant battle now, to get more X3s and X5s," he said in an interview about the company's future in North America to Automotive News. If they the supply were available, Willisch predicts he could sell at least another 10,000 of the CUVs.

Willisch sees getting the X7 on the market as a big win for the brand, too. "We were able to convince the company that this is exactly what we need in the United States," he said to Automotive News. However, there is a bit of a wait. The model rides on BMW's next-gen platform, and is at least two years away from challenging the Land Rover Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz's renamed GLS-Class (previously the GL-Class). The fullsize CUV reportedly shares development with Rolls-Royce and might offer the best interior of any model bearing the blue and white roundel.

The boss also talked about other future product plans for this continent. For example, Willisch reiterated BMW will not bring the 2 Series hatchbacks here, citing a lack of a market for them. There will be plenty more plug-in hybrids available at dealers, though. Due to "legal requirements" and popularity, Willlisch says PHEV versions will be offered throughout the lineup by 2017. Although, the i sub-brand will stick with the i3 and i8 through that time.


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