BMW Introduces X7 SUV, Expands U.S. Production
SPARTANBURG, SOUTH CAROLINA — BMW unveiled plans today to significantly expand its factory in the United States and announced plans for a new larger SUV, the X7.
At a press conference held at the factory, Norbert Reithofer, the chairman of the automaker’s board of management, said that BMW will invest $1 billion in its expansion efforts.
The Munich-based automaker will “expand the plant’s annual production by 50% up to 450,000 vehicles by the end of 2016,” said Dr. Reithofer. The expansion will also create an additional 800 jobs in the region. BMW currently has 8,000 employees at its U.S. plant.
The significance of the expansion is not lost on the U.S. federal government. U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker spoke at the event as did South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley.
BMW’s Spartanburg plant produced its first car 20 years ago and it has expanded to being, according to BMW, the automotive industry’s largest producer of vehicles exported from North America. The flexible plant is considered a “center of competence” for Xdrive vehicles, making the X7 a natural fit.
The X7 will be a seven-seat crossover and the automaker expects to sell most of them in the United States. It will be the fifth model to be produced here. The X3, X5, X4, and X6 are all built in Spartanburg, and BMW previously manufactured a 3 Series sedan as well as the Z3 roadster at this location.
“It’s good to have a product like the X7 to complete our X range,” Dr. Reithofer told Frequent Business Traveler in an interview.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)