BMW to announce U.S. plant expansion
Formal announcement slated for Monday
Last fall, BMW revealed plans to increase production capacity at its only U.S. plant from 140,000 to 240,000 vehicles annually by 2012. But the automaker has been mum since then on what changes would be required at the plant to handle the extra load.
According to Spartanburg-Herald Journal, the plant has obtained permits to expand its paint shop by 70,000 square feet at an estimated cost of $27 million. BMW has invested more than $4.83 billion in the Spartanburg factory since it opened in 1994.
This will be the factory’s fourth expansion. In 1998, BMW doubled the plant’s size to more than 2 million square feet to make room for the X5 SUV. The X5’s popularity prompted a $300 million expansion two years later.
Besides the X5, the Spartanburg factory is the exclusive worldwide producer of the Z4 roadster and coupe and the new X6 SUV, which goes on sale later this year.
Production of the X3, a small SUV, will move to Spartanburg from contract assembler Magna Steyr’s Graz, Austria, plant in 2010. Around that time, Z4 production will shift to Germany.
The Spartanburg factory built 154,999 vehicles in 2007, well above its stated capacity of 140,000.
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