Rumor: BMW May Build Fourth Model in U.S. 3 Series possibly

Rumors | October 17th, 2010 by 7
BMW 3er Limousine E90 LCI 031 750x500

BimmerToday, quoting German outlet Handelsblatt, reports that BMW might be considering building a fourth model at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Just days later, …

BimmerToday, quoting German outlet Handelsblatt, reports that BMW might be considering building a fourth model at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Just days later, a report by Bloomberg comes to solidify the rumors.

“There’s always room on top,” Chief Executive Officer Norbert Reithofer said in Spartanburg, South Carolina, at an event to mark the addition of the factory’s third model, the X3 sport-utility vehicle. “We have ambitious goals for the U.S.”

BMW spent $750 million to make room for the revamped X3 in Spartanburg, and even Frank-Peter Arndt, BMW’s production chief believes that an additional “volume” model could make its way down to the production lines.

Reithofer continued to add that BMW is investing in the facility to reduce foreign currency exposure, which currently stands at more than 10 billion euros ($14 billion). About 70 percent of the vehicles built at the site are exported from the U.S., and more than 65 percent of the value of a vehicle built in South Carolina is sourced from North America, BMW said.

BMW 3er Limousine E90 LCI 031 655x436With these figures in mind, the to-seller and company’s moneymaker 3 Series would fit in the future plans at Spartanburg. The traditional competitor Mercedes-Benz is moving its C-Class sedan production line to its Alabama factory, ending the model’s assembly in Sindelfingen, Germany, after more than 25 years.

In 2010, BMW Group plans to sell 250,000 vehicles in the U.S. BMW is targeting sales of 300,000 in the U.S. longer term.

The addition of the X3 in Spartanburg raises BMW’s annual U.S. capacity 50 percent to 240,000. South Carolina has supported the factory by training workers at local technical colleges and offering tax breaks for new hires. The state also charges BMW just $1 a year to lease the plant’s land, which is owned by South Carolina’s ports authority.

The new X3, which goes on sale in the U.S. on Jan. 22, will be bigger, adding more than 3 inches in length and 1 inch in width, and be sold at a lower price, to take on Volkswagen AG’s Audi Q5. BMW will also begin selling the X1 crossover in the U.S. in 2011, said U.S. chief Jim O’Donnell.

7 responses to “Rumor: BMW May Build Fourth Model in U.S. 3 Series possibly”

  1. Hugo Becker says:

    The trip to Spartanburg provided us with a few nuggets of information. The new assembly hall was built in what BMW calls a ‘finger’ pattern, with a main building running the length of the hall and ‘fingers’ sprouting perpendicular to the main building. Not all the fingers are in yet.

    And when asked how much land is in use at the site, a BMW exec said there is more ground still unused than is currently used. If the economics make sense, they can build a lot more assembly halls.

    Also understand that any model can be built in the new assembly hall; 1er’s, 3er’s, 5er’s, 6er’s, 7er’s, anything BMW makes can be made in that hall.

  2. Wooo hoo. says:

    Niiice, Let’s hope that this isn’t the norm (see Link)

    I want mine with the ‘Made in germany’ pride and not the ‘good enough’ workrate that you see referenced in the link above.

    “The 3-series was built in Spartanburg when the plant was first opened, and some were even exported to Germany. The German shoppers would check the VIN number to make sure that they got the better quality German built cars instead of the Spartanburg built cars. I have loads of fun telling my German colleagues that their X5 is an American car.

    No thanks, Hopefully it’s the 1er or the X1… The people buying them will only care about being seen driving a ‘BMW’ and not where it was manufactured.

  3. wazon8 says:

    Nothing is wrong in buliding outside Germany. The key is how production is managed and BMW is really great about it. Perhaps, German in general are great about it. But still place of producing is of secondary significance. For example, in 90-ties Opel (perhaps known at that time in U.S. as Saturn) built its cars in Germany and all of them were far from being reliable. Actually, they’ve been terribly unreliable, starting from engines and electronics problems and ending on plenty of rost spreading over each panel and chassis. Moreover, Spartanburg’s products, i.e. X3 and X5, proved to be as reliable as one could expect. In ADAC reliability-reports both cars took first two spots in SUV class in 2009, X3 has been on top in 2008 eighter (X5 got 4th spot) and they are partially responsible for Award of Reliability which ADAC gave to BMW and MINI this year.

  4. Artmic says:

    i got my 3 from Germany, went to the dealership with light problems 4 times, got a blown fuel pump, and other crap in the first 12 months of ownership, i don’t care where it is built, as long as it is good.

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