Behind the Wheel with Phil Lebeau

BMW Turbo Charges US Production

If you thought BMW was going to slow down now that it’s the #1 luxury brand in the US, think again.

As expected, the German automaker is ramping up production here in the states with a major expansion of its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

  • Adding 300 jobs
  • Investing $900 Million for another assembly line
  • Increasing annual production to 350,000 vehicles

BMW is building its new X4 SUV in the Spartanburg plant.

The X4 hits showrooms in 2014 and this expansion is all about adding the capacity to build the new SUV.

As BMW North American CEO Ludwig Willisch told meat the Detroit Auto Show, the German automaker is in the midst of updating and expanding its product line.

“We will have new or renewed vehicles 60% of our model line-up so we are in good shape,” said Willisch.

It’s easy to see why BMW is expanding the X line-up. Last year, truck sales for the German automaker were up 54.9% while the industry boosted truck sales 11.6%.

The truth is BMW is at capacity in Spartanburg, cranking out 276,065 vehicles last year. What surprises people is that most of what is built in Spartanburg is exported. 192,813 vehicles were shipped to 130 countries around the world.

When the Spartanburg plant first opened, there was a tendency for people to say, “Well, of course BMW is opening a plant in the US so it can build its “X” line-up of SUV’s in the country where SUV demand is strongest.” What most overlooked was the fact this plant would become an export base. Sure, the lower dollar made it much more attractive as a lower cost production plant, but the success of Spartanburg goes beyond that.


Click on Ticker to Track Corporate News:

- General Motors

- Ford Motor 

- Toyota Motor

- Nissan

- Honda Motor

___________________________ Questions?  Comments?  BehindTheWheel@cnbc.comand Follow me on Twitter