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BMW set to make economic development announcement

Staff Report
Published Jan. 10, 2012

BMW Manufacturing Co. is set to make an economic development announcement Thursday, according to company officials.

“We will celebrate a major milestone for our plant,” said Max Metcalf, BMW Manufacturing Co.’s communications manager, in an email.

Metcalf said this announcement is not related to previous ones. The news conference begins at 11 a.m. at the BMW Manufacturing Co. Assembly North Facility at 1400 Highway 101 South in Greer.

BMW Manufacturing ramped up production in 2011 as it put its $750 million expansion into operation at the Spartanburg plant.

The goal for 2011 was to build more than 270,000 cars at the S.C. facility, BMW said. Through November, the plant produced 255,359 units compared with 142,135 units in the similar period in 2010.

BMW’s operations at its Spartanburg plant increased production by more than 80% through the first 11 months of 2011, outpacing any other car and truck manufacturer in North America. Sales of the X3, X5 and X6 models built there have continued to increase, up 54.9% for 2011 to 74,532 units, compared to 48,108 in 2010.

BMW recently overtook Lexus and Mercedes-Benz to become the top-selling, luxury-vehicle brand in the U.S. for 2011. BMW reported on Jan. 5 total 2011 U.S. sales of 247,907, up 12.6% from 2010. That was just 2,676 vehicles more than Mercedes. Mercedes brand sales increased 13.3% to 245,231 for the year.

Previous coverage

In August, BMW Manufacturing announced a threefold investment in its Spartanburg County plant to include more hiring, increased workforce training and the development of an on-site health clinic for employees, retirees and their eligible dependents.

The three-pronged plan was part of a $100 million investment that BMW Manufacturing President Josef Kerscher announced earlier in 2011.

The automaker announced a plan to hire 100 people, including engineers, IT professionals and production managers, said Harald Krueger previously, the BMW Group board member responsible for human resources.

BMW planned to build a $5 million Associate Family Health Center to provide primary care, dental, vision and physical therapy services. BMW Manufacturing also established a two-year BMW training in partnership with Greenville Technical College, Spartanburg Community College and Tri-County Technical College.

The German automaker employs about 7,000 workers at the Spartanburg plant. About 70% of BMW’s production is exported to more than 130 global markets through the Port of Charleston. BMW exports are valued at more than $4 billion annually.

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