BMW to add X4 model, expand S.C. plant with $900M investment
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BMW, now the best-selling luxury brand in the United States, will invest $900 million in its Spartanburg, S.C., plant over the next three years, creating 300 new jobs.
The expansion will allow the plant to build 350,000 vehicles a year, Frank-Peter Arndt, BMW's production chief, said in a statement today. The operation produces the BMW X3, X5, and X6 SUVs.
It will now add the X4 model.
"This is in response to rising global demand for our BMW X models and the expansion of the BMW X family to include the BMW X4," Arndt said in the statement.
The X4 would be the fifth model in the BMW brand's SUV range. The X4 will fill the gap between the X3 and X6 models, CEO Norbert Reithofer was quoted as saying in German magazine Auto Motor und Sport last September.
The model is expected to launch in 2013. It will have the lower roofline and coupe styling of the larger X6.
BMW division, which topped Mercedes-Benz and Lexus in 2011 to become the top-selling U.S. luxury brand for the first time, produced 276,065 vehicles in Spartanburg last year -- an increase of 73 percent over the previous year.
The BMW X3 fueled the increase with a 156 percent boost in global sales last year to 117,944 vehicles. BMW sold 27,793 of its redesigned X3s in the United States last year compared with 6,075 X3s in 2010.
BMW said 70 percent of the vehicles made in Spartanburg are exported.
The German automaker held a ceremony today to mark production of the 2 millionth vehicle at the plant, which opened in 1994. BMW said the latest expansion will bring its total investment there to nearly $6 billion.
Automotive News Europe and Reuters contributed to this report.
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