In 2016, BMW Manufacturing Co. exported 287,700 X models, accounting for nearly 70% of all vehicles manufactured — 411,171 — by the Spartanburg facility. The number of models exported is a new record for the plant.
All told, the manufacturer exported 86% of the 287,700 X models along with coupes through the Port of Charleston in 2016. The value of the X models and coupes exported from the Upstate plant was $9.53 billion, according to the BMW Group and the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The remaining 14% of X model exports were moved through ports in Savannah, Ga., Brunswick, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., Miami and Everglades, Fla.
Knudt Flor, BMW Manufacturing Co. president and CEO, said the “export figures reinforce BMW’s commitment to South Carolina and the United States,” in a news release.
“Our vehicles are in high demand. Customers from 140 countries around the world are eagerly awaiting our vehicles,” Flor said, in the release. “We build our product with precision and pride every day.”
Flor took over for previous CEO Manfred Erlacher in December 2016.
The value of exports the company moved through the Port of Charleston is slightly less than the $9.8 billion value of vehicles exported through the port in 2015, but still higher than the $9.2 billion exported in 2014. But, the company said the Spartanburg facility was still the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value in 2016.
The plant is undergoing a $1 billion upgrade as the company prepares to build the new X7 model, which is expected to start production sometime in 2018. Robots and additional tooling are part of the current phase of construction inside the 1.2-million-square-foot body shop. The upgrade also includes the addition of 200,000-square-feet to the X5/X6 hall where the X7 will also be built.
Since opening the plant in 1994, BMW Manufacturing Co. has produced over 3.7 million vehicles and the BMW Group had invested $7.8 billion into the facility as of Dec. 31, 2016, according to BMW Manufacturing.
“There’s no overstating the value BMW has brought to South Carolina since opening its doors in Spartanburg County over 20 years ago,” said Gov. Henry McMaster, in the release. “The fact that the same facility that represented such a commitment to our state is now the leading automotive exporter in the country is something that all South Carolinians should be proud of.”