After a monthlong shutdown, BMW on Monday plans to crank up the lines at its largest assembly plant in the world, the automaker said Wednesday.
BMW's plant in Spartanburg, S.C., which employs 11,000 people, joins Hyundai and Kia in hoping to restart after efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus shuttered auto manufacturing across the nation.
Toyota and Volkswagen were expected to restart their factories May 4 but have since pushed back the start date.
BMW's German rival Mercedes-Benz holds the distinction of beating the industry in getting back to business. Daimler's Vance, Ala., assembly plant opened April 27. The factory, which builds the GLE crossover, GLS SUV and C-Class sedan, began operating with one shift.
BMW's 7 million-square-foot South Carolina plant builds the popular X-Series crossovers. About 70 percent of production volume is exported to around 125 markets worldwide, with China being the biggest.
Next week's restart will be gradual — the plant will operate at about 50 percent capacity — as BMW assesses customer demand and supply chain capacity.
"We continue to monitor global demand and will increase these numbers as the situation dictates," spokesman Phil Dilanni said, declining to say when full production would resume.
Vehicles will initially be built with parts stocked from before the shutdown.
"We are working with suppliers to plan the ramp-up based on their individual situations," Dilanni said.