BMW announces plant expansion
The three-year construction project includes a new 1.2 million square foot assembly facility north of the existing factory, along with an expansion of the paint shop and renovation of the existing body shops.
BMW this week announced it will invest an additional $750 million in its upstate South Carolina factory, adding 1.5 million square feet and 500 new jobs on site.
The investment is the largest ever announced for the Spartanburg County factory, increasing investments of the BMW Group in its South Carolina operations to $4.2 billion. The expansion will house production of three models and increase production capacity from 160,000 to 240,000 units by 2012.
The three-year construction project includes a new 1.2 million square foot assembly facility north of the existing factory to accommodate the next generation BMW X3 sport utility vehicle. In addition, the paint shop will expand by 300,000 square feet, about 80 percent. The existing body shops will be renovated.
After the expansion, the facility will manufacture the BMW X3 and X5 sports utility vehicles, the X6 sports utility coupe, and their respective variants for world markets. A highlight will be the production of a diesel X5 sports utility vehicle for the United States market starting later this year.
“Centralizing our know-how for BMW X models in Spartanburg will enable us to work more efficiently, thus supporting our long-range corporate strategy. In addition, it was a logical step for the BMW Group as a global player to increase production capacity in its largest market,” said BMW board member Frank-Peter Arndt.
“The boost in the production capacity at BMW Manufacturing will positively impact the logistics, supplier and distribution networks that support the manufacturing processes,” added Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing. While the supplier network may grow, existing supplier companies will ramp up operations to provide automotive parts for the higher production levels, doubling parts container traffic and significantly increasing exports through the Port of Charleston.
Log onto www.bmwusfactory.com to watch video of comments from Arndt and South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, as well as groundbreaking ceremonies for the expansion.
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.