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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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