BMW plant in Spartanburg remained the nation’s largest automotive exporter in 2016. The automaker announced Wednesday it exported 287,700 X models during the year. About 86 percent were exported through the Port of Charleston.
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BMW said the plant’s exports were valued at $9.53 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, confirming it as the country’s leading car exporter in terms of value for a third consecutive year.
“We had a record-breaking production and export year in 2016, and these new export figures reinforce BMW’s commitment to South Carolina and the United States,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., in a statement. “Our vehicles are in high demand. Customers from 140 countries around the world are eagerly awaiting our vehicles. We build our product with precision and pride every day.”
The plant’s employees produced a record 411,171 vehicles during 2016. About 70 percent of those were shipped to customers around the world.
BMW said the remaining 14 percent of the vehicles it exported during the past year went through five ports in the Southeast, including Savannah, Ga., Brunswick, Ga., Jacksonville, Fla., Miami, Fla., and Everglades, Fla.
“In 1994, the first South Carolina-produced BMW rolled off the assembly line at the Spartanburg facility, forever transforming the economy of our state,” said Bobby Hitt, S.C. Secretary of Commerce, in a statement. “Since that time, BMW’s continued success and commitment to South Carolina have shown the world that we are a state with a strong business environment and skilled workforce that are unmatched.”
The plant capacity will soon increase to 450,000 vehicles per year, while adding an additional model in 2018.