If President Donald Trump follows through on his promise to increase import taxes on cars, BMW’s plant in Spartanburg might go through a series of changes.
Speaking on the sidelines of a symposium in Germany this month, CEO Harald Krueger said Spartanburg would be preferable to building a facility in the U.S. where BMW could reassemble completely knocked-down cars such as the 5 Series sedan. BMW’s competitor from Stuttgart is currently using this approach with its Mercedes Sprinter cargo vans in Charleston, S.C., that actually are manufactured in Germany to circumvent the “chicken tax.”
“You can never rule out whether in the future you may manufacture locally something else in addition,” Krueger explained. “The bandwidth of the production system is flexible enough to build other models in the U.S., just as in Germany or China.”
Krueger said it took less than nine months after the decision was made for BMW to re-equip its Dingolfing plant in Germany to produce 3 Series sedans that before had been built in Regensburg and Munich.
“If the production systems are prepped, and when the flexibility is there, you can shift production from one plant [to another] in a reasonable period of time,” he said.
For the third consecutive year, BMW Manufacturing recorded its largest annual production, producing 411,171 X models during 2016. This production record confirms the South Carolina plant will remain the largest plant by volume in the BMW Group global production network. In addition, the plant exported 287,700 vehicles last year – 70 percent of its total production.