BMW Manufacturing in February said it exported a record 287, 700 BMW X models from its Spartanburg plant in 2016, with about 86 percent of the vehicles going through the Port of Charleston. The vehicles represent an export value of $9.53 billion, according to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, making BMW’s South Carolina factory the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value.
The remaining 14 percent of BMW X models moved through the Southeastern ports of Savannah and Brunswick in Georgia and Jacksonville, Everglades and Miami, Florida. The Spartanburg plant exported 70 percent of its total production volume of 411, 171 units.
“We had a record-breaking production and export year in 2016, and these new export figures reinforce BMW’s commitment to South Carolina and the United States, ” said Knudt Flor, CEO of BMW Manufacturing.
Meanwhile, construction continues around BMW Spartanburg as the plant prepares to add a fifth model to the vehicle line-up: the all-new BMW X7. The full-size X7 is BMW’s answer to the full-size luxury SUV category, with loads of additional high-tech features and a standard third-row seat well suited for average-size adults. The automotive press theorizes that the X7 will be a luxury cruiser that eventually will offer both diesel and gasoline-electric hybrid models.
The new body shop continues with the installation of robots and special tooling in the 1.2 million-square-foot facility. An additional 200, 000 square feet is being added to the X5/X6 Assembly Hall — where the BMW X7 will also be built.
BMW began manufacturing vehicles in the United States in 1994 and has since produced more than 3.7 million vehicles. Spartanburg’s 2016 production of a record 411, 171 vehicles confirmed it as the largest by volume in the BMW Group global production network. Through Dec. 31, 2016, the BMW Group has invested more than $7.8 billion in the facility. ν
Text by Dave Helms