BMW’s S.C. facility becomes lead U.S. auto exporter

Charleston Regional Business Journal
March 5, 2012

BMW Manufacturing Co.’s Spartanburg County facility is now the leading U.S. automotive exporter.

The German automaker announced Thursday that the export value of its passenger vehicles through the Port of Charleston in 2011 totaled $7.4 billion. The plant contributed more than $4.4 billion annually in 2010 and $3.1 billion in exports in 2009.

BMW increased exports by 68% in 2011 from 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. In 2011, more than 192,000 vehicles were exported from its South Carolina plant.

“Since the plant’s production grew 73% in 2011, the plant’s year-end export value proves the company’s significant contribution to the U.S. balance of trade and strengthens its position as the leading provider of premium vehicles,” said Josef Kerscher, BMW Manufacturing president.

The company currently produces more than 1,000 vehicles each day and is the exclusive exporter of passenger vehicles through the Port of Charleston to more than 130 global markets.
“Consistently strong global sales have driven BMW’s volume growth at the port, and we’ve completed significant improvements to Columbus Street Terminal in anticipation of the ever-rising demand for their product,” said Jim Newsome, the S.C. Ports Authority president and CEO.

BMW announced its plans in January to hire 300 people and increase volume to 300,000 units by the end of 2012. By the end of 2014, the company plans to hire 700 more and increase volume to 350,000 units in preparation for the production of the BMX X4 model.

“BMW continues to offer an economic boost for our state and the region. Today’s announcement is proof that the U.S. automotive industry is thriving in South Carolina,” said Gov. Nikki Haley in a news release.

The plant originally began vehicle production in 1994. BMW has produced over 2 million vehicles since that time. The company exports about 70% of the BMW X3, X5 and X6.

BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany and is the global producer of the BMW X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupe.

In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW Group North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; and a design firm and technology office in California.

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