As the biggest market outside Germany, the US plays an important role in BMW’s future planning and strategy. In 2010, the automotive market in North America has relatively recovered from the economic crisis and BMW expects the US to become in the coming years one of the largest markets for luxury cars. While China could soon pass the United States in terms of sales, the US market will always remain very important for BMW Group.
According to German website FAZ, quoted by our BimmerToday, in order to keep up with the increased demand, BMW is considering to add a 3 and 5 Series production lines to its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. The information apparently came from Ian Robertson, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Group sales and marketing who mentioned to FAZ that “Spartanburg plant still has enough capacity to allow the production of additional models”.
At the moment, the Spartanburg plant produces only X-models, the X3, X5 and X6 Sports Activity Coupe, but an X4 model is rumored to appear in the next few years. In the past, the plant used to produce the E36 3 Series and E85/E86 Z4 models. Moving some of its future F30 3 Series production to the U.S. will allow BMW to remain price competitive in a market where Audi has been challenging them in the past years. In addition to lower production costs, avoiding currency volatility is another advantage.
Volkswagen, Mercedes and Audi are also considering a production directly in North America or some have already begun. BMW has just completed an investment of 1 billion dollars in the United States. The majority of this investment was for the expansion of our production facilities in Spartanburg for the new BMW X3. “This extra capacity is needed— especially here— because the US remains our largest market outside of Germany”, said Ian Robertson in his opening speech at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.
The next generation 3 Series goes on sale in 2012 and will first debut in a sedan variant. Coupe and Convertible models will follow later that year.