Purves: U.S. may build fourth vehicle.
Purves said a 50-50 balance between the vehicles it sells here and those it exports is a long-term target and "the clear and logical thing to do."
BMW's factory in Spartanburg, S.C., produces the X5 SUV and Z4 roadster. It built 143,916 units in 2004 and 166,090 in 2003.
BMW announced at the Geneva auto show this month that Spartanburg will build an additional vehicle - a crossover coupe based on the X5. The vehicle will go on sale within three years.
BMW executives said the weakness of the dollar is a major reason they decided to add a third vehicle to Spartanburg. Capacity at the factory is about 150,000. It will be expanded, but not doubled, for the crossover, BMW said.
Purves said there could be a fourth vehicle built at Spartanburg. But that would not be likely for at least 10 years because of the lead time needed.
BMW responded to the last currency crisis by building the Spartanburg plant, Purves said. The company learned in the late 1980s and early 1990s that raising prices isn't the way to cope with the problem, he said.
"We did have to take some price increases," he said. "When we did that, we actually lost position in the marketplace, and we do not want to do that."
Purves said there is sufficient land on the site to expand: "We have had an extremely good experience in Spartanburg, and it seems logical that we would want to build upon that."
You may e-mail Diana T. Kurylko at [email protected]