BMW investing $1 billion in South Carolina
The German automaker said it will produce the X7, a larger SUV with three rows of seats similar to a Cadillac Escalade. The company will also make the X4, a sportier version of the X3 coupe and plans to build a plug-in hybrid version of its smaller X5 SUV.
The $1 billion will be spent through 2016 at the plant in Greer, a town in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. BMW said it will hire 800 additional workers, bringing total employment at the plant to 8,800 people. The Greer plant will make 450,000 vehicles a year by 2016, becoming the largest of the company’s 28 plants around the world.
"We love Germany. But South Carolina is now the BMW capital of the world," South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley said at a glitzy ceremony to both celebrate the expansion and honour what the German automaker has meant to the state.
Almost 300,000 BMWs were made in South Carolina last year, and more than 2.6 million vehicles have rolled off the plant’s assembly lines in the past two decades. BMW first started making cars in South Carolina in 1994 after months of courtship from around the country. About 70 per cent of the vehicles made at the Greer plant are exported, most on ships out of the port in Charleston. ■