The United States' strength as a manufacturing hub just received another major endorsement with BMW's announcement of a $1 billion investment in its Spartanburg, South Carolina, plant, the worldwide source of almost all the brand's X-series crossover models, with the exception of the niche X1. The X3, X5, X6 and recently announced X4 all come rolling out of Spartanburg, and will soon be joined by another. BMW today officially confirmed the rumor of a flagship X7 crossover and that Spartanburg will be the global source for the full-size model.
The addition of 800 jobs to the plant will bring total on-site employment to 8800 workers, and the investment will increase the plant's annual capacity from 300,000 units currently to 450,000. With the expansion, Spartanburg will become the BMW Group's largest plant globally by output capacity. Spartanburg currently exports approximately 70 percent of its production output, making it the largest vehicle exporting plant in the United States to non-NAFTA countries. In addition to the confirmation of the X7, BMW chairman of the board Dr. Norbert Reithofer also said the plant will build a plug-in hybrid version of the popular X5 crossover.
A study conducted by the University of South Carolina business school estimated that the Spartanburg plant has a $16 billion annual impact on the state's economy, and supports more than 30,000 jobs state-wide. A total of 297,326 vehicles were produced by the plant in 2013.