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BMW expanding with $1B investment, 800 more jobs

Staff Report
Published March 28, 2014

BMW Group is expanding again at Greer, investing $1 billion and adding another 800 jobs to build an X7 model and boost the plant’s annual production capacity by 50% to 450,000 vehicles. A new study shows every BMW job spins off three jobs elsewhere in South Carolina.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and Gov. Nikki Haley joined BMW Group Board of Management Chairman Norbert Reithofer and other top BMW executives at the Friday announcement.

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The new X7 will have three rows of seats and join the X3, X5 and X6 on the plant’s production lines, along with the new X4. BMW executives Friday also celebrated the production startup for the X4, which follows a $900 million expansion that added about 1,000 jobs. The plant’s work force has grown to about 8,000. With the X7 and plans for a plug-in-hybrid version of the X5, annual production capacity is expected to increase from 300,000 vehicles to up to 450,000 by the end of 2016.

“This is the fifth expansion since production began 20 years ago and represents another major investment,” Manfred Erlacher, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., said in a statement announcing the expansion. “The increase in annual capacity, the number of models produced and the number of jobs on-site reinforce the major role BMW is playing in the region’s economic vitality through technological innovation, environmental stewardship and development of a highly skilled workforce.”

Since 1994, the plant has produced more than 2.6 million vehicles.

A new study by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina shows the BMW Group has a $16.6 billion impact on the state’s economy and supports more than 30,000 jobs statewide. The study shows that for every job created at the plant, “an additional three jobs are created elsewhere in South Carolina through the economic multiplier effect,” the statement said.

Last year, 207,326 vehicles were manufactured in Greer, or about 1,100 every day.

Harold Kruger, a BMW Group Board of Management member for production, said the plant is “an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries today and makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally balanced growth.”

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