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BMW reports record production year in S.C.

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In 2016, BMW Manufacturing Co. reported producing 411,171 X model vehicles, setting a new annual production record.

With an increase in global sales of the X series vehicles, the Spartanburg facility topped the previous production record of 400,904 units set the prior year.

The plant is still the largest production facility by volume in The BMW Group’s global chain, according to the company. The South Carolina plant also exported 287,700 vehicles, or 70% of total production, during 2016.

BMW Manufacturing Co. reported the X5 its most produced vehicle in 2016 with 165,377 made during the year. The Spartanburg facility produced over 400,000 vehicles for the second straight year. (Photo provided)“Last year was a very successful year for Plant Spartanburg,” said Knudt Flor, new president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., in a statement. “Our X models continue to be extremely popular worldwide, and I am proud of the commitment shown by our team of dedicated associates to deliver premium quality vehicles for our customers.”

While sales in the United States dropped 9.5% over the year, globally, The BMW Group reported its sixth consecutive all-time global sales high as 2016 sales reached 2 million — the first time the BMW brand has eclipsed 2 million vehicles sold — and increase of 5.2% over 2015. All three segments of the company — BMW, Mini and BMW Motorad — hit new sales marks for the year as the entire group reported 2,367,603 vehicles sold globally, a 5.3% increase over 2015.

“Despite some headwinds in some markets, our policy of balanced global sales has paid off, as we increased our worldwide sales month by month,” said Ian Robertson, member of the BMW AG board of management overseeing sales and marketing, at the North America International Motor Show.

The South Carolina-produced X models accounted for one in three BMWs sold during the year, according to the group. In all, 644,992 X models were sold in 2016, an increase of 22.3% over 2015. The X5 was the largest produced vehicle in South Carolina as 165,377 models were produced in 2016, followed by the X3 which had 151,298 produced. Production of the X4 reached 56,404 and the X6 was 38,092.

Global sales for BMW were highest in Europe where BMW and Mini combined sales topped 1 million for the first time as the company reported 1,091,192 sold. Sales in Italy and Spain had the largest increases in the region at 17.7% and 21% respectively.

Vehicle sales in Asia jumped 9% year-over-year as over 745,000 BMWs and Minis were sold. Sales in Mainland China — the largest BMW market in the region — jumped 11.3%, marking the first time over 500,000 vehicles were sold in the market. Sales in Japan and South Korea grew 8.3% and 7.2% respectively.

After a record-setting 2015 where the company reported selling 346,023 vehicles in the U.S., BMW brand sales were 313,174 in 2016. Group sales — including BMW and Mini brands — in the U.S. were off 9.7% for the year.

The plant in Spartanburg remains in the midst of a $1 billion investment by The BMW Group with the intent of adding a fifth model — the new BMW X7 — to the production line. The expansion includes adding 200,000 square feet to the X5/X6 assembly hall and the installation of special tooling and shop robots.

The year marked a homecoming for Flor who replaced Manfred Erlacher as head of BMW Manufacturing Co. Flor, a 28-year veteran of The BMW Group, was previously the senior vice president of corporate quality for the group, but previously spent time in Spartanburg as senior manager supplier and in assembly quality management.

“I enjoyed my four years in Spartanburg in the late 1990s, and I have been waiting for this opportunity to return,” Flor said. “I’m eager to work with this dedicated team, and I am excited about the future of this BMW plant.”

Since beginning production in 1994, the South Carolina plant has produced over 3.7 million vehicles and currently produces over 1,400 vehicles a day, according to the company.


BMW Group sales


Dec. 2016

Change from 2015

Full year 2016

Change from 2015
















BMW Motorrad





BMW Group





Source: BMW Group.

2016 BMW Manufacturing production


2016 production

2015 production













Source: BMW Manufacturing Co.


Reach Matthew Clark at 864-720-1222.

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