The BMW Manufacturing Co. facility in Greer has been producing vehicles since 1994, when the first BMW 318i rolled off the production line.
In May 1998, the production facility changed when the BMW Group announced a $600 million, 1 million-square-foot expansion to the Upstate facility in order to start production of the new X5. That started to mold what the plant does today: Be the global producer of most of the BMW X models.
Norbert Reithofer, then-BMW Group chairman, told a crowd at the Statehouse in Columbia “it’s a mature facility with a mature workforce ready to take on larger and more complex tasks” when he announced the expansion.
Since its first 318i came off the production line, BMW Manufacturing’s Upstate facility has produced more than 3.3 million vehicles.
Today, the Upstate facility produces the X3 sports activity vehicle, X4 sports activity coupe, X5 sports activity vehicle, X5 M sports activity vehicle, X6 sports activity coupe, X6 M sports activity vehicle and, coming soon, the new BMW X7.
Here is a look at the different vehicles produced today by the nearly 8,000 employees at the Upstate factory.
The X3 was first introduced in 2003 and was BMW’s first foray into the sport vehicle genre. In over a decade, more than 1 million X3 vehicles came off the production line in the Upstate. The second generation of the X3 was introduced in 2010. The BMW X3 featured a new kind of permanent power transmission to all four wheels, BMW xDrive. The first generation of the X3 sold nearly 600,000 models before being replaced with the second generation.
The BMW X4 launched in 2014 in a coupe model, different from its other X model cousins. The X4 is offered with six different engine variants and also has the same xDrive transmission as the X3. BMW Group has reported selling 250,000 of the X4 units since production began.
The Upstate plant started production of the second generation X5 model in 2006. Now BMW offers several variants of its X5 model including the xDrive50i, xDrive30d, xDrive35d, xDrive40e, M50d and the X5 M. At its launch, the X5 had three different types of engines available:
- 330-kilowatt, 450-horsepower V-8 for the BMW X5 xDrive50i.
- 190-kW, 258-horsepower six-cylinder in-line diesel for the BMW X5 xDrive30d.
- 280-kW, 381-horsepower six-cylinder in-line diesel with M Performance three-stage turbocharging for the BMW X5 M50d.
BMW added the xDrive40e and its 230-kilowatt, 313-horsepower four-cylinder engine. In 2008, the xDrive35d entered the North American market from the S.C. plant. It included a 3.0-liter, inline six-cylinder engine with 265 horsepower and an ability to go 585 miles on a single tank of gas. However, BMW rolled out one more X5 model in the X5 M, which includes a newly developed 4.4-liter V-8 M engine that delivers a reported 575 horsepower at 6,000-6,500 rpm. In 2005, the Upstate plant rolled off the 500,000th first generation X5. In just a few years after starting second-generation production, sales of the X5 grew to nearly 800,000.
In 2008, BMW launched the first sports activity coupe in the X6. The next year, the company introduced the ActiveHybrid X6 which was powered by an eight-cylinder petrol engine and two electric motors and transferred via the four-wheel drive system BMW xDrive to the front and rear axles. It has a system output of 357-kilowatt, 485-horsepower. Also in 2009, the X6 M was developed with its 4.4-liter V-8 engine and an eight-speed Steptronic transmission.