There's a new trend emerging in the luxury marketplace, turning seven-seat crossovers into first-class limousines with fewer (but more luxurious) seats. And BMW could be the next to enter the fray with a version of the forthcoming flagship X7.
Which automaker do you think ships the most cars out of North America, one of the Detroit Three or perhaps one of the Japanese automakers? Nope. It turns out the BMW's Spartanburg, SC, factory is the biggest automotive exporter from the continent in the United States. According to a recent profile by Bloomberg looking at the plant's 20th anniversary, Bimmer's southern ops sends out more vehicles than all of Michigan combined.
There might be even more BMWs coming from North America soon. The company recently announced plans to build a flagship crossover called the X7 at its Spartanburg, SC, factory. Now, rumors are emerging that the Bavarians might be thinking about building a second North American factory that could build its quick-selling 3 Series.
Prior to the debut of the original X5 in 1999, the idea of a BMW crossover might have seemed like heresy. But here we are, fifteen years removed from the Frank Stephenson-penned design, and the Bavarian automaker has expanded its crossover lineup to include the X1, X3, X4 and X6, and it's showing no sign of slowing down.
The on-again, off-again discussion regarding the rumored Rolls-Royce SUV seems to be back in the "maybe" camp now. In February, we heard that Rolls-Royce was considering adding an SUV, but then in April, another report said that these rumors had been shot down. Automobile is now saying that this ultra-luxury SUV could be determined by the success of the equally uncertain BMW X7 (on which the R-R SUV would be based), which we've heard little on since 2011.
Judging from the whispers making their way around the interwebs, BMW may be interested in rekindling the X7 flame. The company was one of many corporations that took part in a global summit in Seoul to discuss how to rebalance global trade away from a U.S.-dependent market. But while many of the participants are keen to shift their attentions toward economies in China and Germany, BMW seemed to think that the U.S. would be back on its feet and buying sooner rather than later. The automaker even