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BMW remains committed to its new Mexican plant, despite Trump’s recent tweets

Auto giant BMW remains "committed" to its new plant based in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, even though President-elect Donald Trump has recently taken to Twitter to criticize some automakers on imported vehicles.

The U.K. branch of the BMW Group confirmed that the group was "committed" to its new Mexican plant and that the cars which would be produced in Mexico, would be sold globally, not just in North America.

"BMW Group is committed to its new plant in Mexico," a BMW Group spokesman said in an email sent to CNBC on Monday.

"BMW is a global company and our new plant now under construction in San Luis Potosi, is part of our expanding global production network of 31 plants in 14 countries that supply our worldwide sales network in more than 140 countries."

"Construction is progressing in order to meet the scheduled 2019 production start and the BMW 3 Series Sedan will be built at the plant from 2019 onwards. Production is planned for the world market, not only North America, and the planned capacity will be a maximum of 150,000 units," the spokesman added.


Graham Crouch | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The automaker – which is headquartered in Germany but has its largest production plant based in South Carolina – added that while production is expected to begin in 2019, it doesn't expect to reach full capacity during that year.

BMW's comments come just days after Trump took to Twitter to criticize U.S. automaker General Motors (GM). In a tweet posted last week, Trump claimed that GM was making a Chevy Cruze model in Mexico, and then sending them to U.S. dealers tax-free. The future U.S. president also reiterated a similar message to automaker Toyota, later on last week.

Shortly after that tweet about GM, which said automakers should make their cars in the U.S. or "pay big border tax", GM responded saying most of its Chevy Cruze models are created in the U.S. and that a "small number" of the Chevrolet Cruze hatchback – built in Mexico – were sold in the U.S.

BMW: ‘We’re always very flexible’

In an interview with the BBC, who first reported the BMW news on Monday, the German carmaker said as its capacity increases, BMW plans to build plants across several parts of the world, not just in the U.S.

"I don't think there's any discussion that BMW is not at home in the United States," Ian Robertson, member of BMW AG board of management with responsibility for sales and marketing, in an interview with the BBC.

"Yes we are building a plant in Mexico. Yes we built a plant in Brazil last year. Yes we are building plants in other parts of the world as our capacity increases. But that's part of a normal strategic manufacturing direction," Robertson said to the BBC.

Robertson went on to reiterate his comments in a CNBC interview on Monday, saying the company decided to have a strategic plant in Mexico, but added that the automaker would continue to invest in its Spartanburg plant, located in South Carolina.

"(At BMW) we're always very flexible, so we have production facilities around the world," said Robertson, adding that it would "mix and match where the supply lines go, to follow the sales potential."

Last Tuesday, Ford Motor announced that it would be cancelling production of a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico; however its CEO Mark Fields told CNBC that the main reason to cancel its plans in Mexico was down to market demand, not Trump.

CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this article.