GREER, S.C. - Future plans for BMW Manufacturing Corp. in South Carolina could include re-introducing the 3-series sedan, now built in Germany.
Company officials say there is not yet any plan to do so, but such a scenario could be considered for the next-generation 3 series.
'It definitely would not be the current generation of the car,' said Norbert Reithofer, president of BMW Manufacturing Corp. 'It would have to be the next model.'
The possibility reflects the U.S. production company's rising prowess in the BMW family. This month, the plant launched its second new platform, the X5 sport activity vehicle. Two years ago it introduced the Z3 roadster.
The plant originally started in late 1994 assembling the 318 and then the 328 sedans. But that work returned to Germany when demand for the new Z3 swamped the factory in 1997.
Reithofer has created a strategic planning committee in South Carolina to determine what other vehicles could be accommodated there, depending on the parent company's needs.
The 3 series is BMW's perennial volume leader in North America.
It sold 48,758 units in the United States last year.
'Our sales are increasing,' Reithofer says of the BMW brand in the United States. 'If we could sell perhaps 80,000 3 series, it would make sense. The next generation would be part of our future discussions.
'But that won't happen with the current 3 series.'