BMW will expand its presence in Spartanburg, South Carolina, by building a new auto body shop. The 527,000-square-foot facility will contain some of the most advanced technology in the automotive industry, including more than 650 robots. BMW Manufacturing Co. spokeswoman Sky Foster said the new body shop is part of the $1 billion expansion announced by BMW to increase the plant’s output, start production of the X7 and create 800 jobs.

The spokesperson said BMW will build a 1,800-foot conveyor that will transfer welded bodies from the body shop to the main building for finishing, painting and assembly. Construction and tooling is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

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The company also will build a visitor parking lot with more than 120 spaces around the Zentrum. The project should be completed in October, she said.

Foster said when the new lot is completed, the current visitor lot will be used for additional associate parking.

“Since we are adding 800 new jobs by 2016, we need additional parking spaces,” she said.

The $1B expansion will increase capacity by 50 percent to 450,000 cars a year and increase the plant’s workforce to almost 9,000 associates, making it the world’s largest BMW factory. It boasts more than 5 million square feet of production space on a 1,150-acre campus, as well as its own Energy Center, on-site Family Health Center and 24-hour security and firefighting departments. BMW has invested nearly $7 billion in the plant to date.

[Source: GoUpstate]