With the start of production on the all-new BMW X5 earlier this summer, BMW Plant Spartanburg achieved another milestone in its nearly quarter-century of leadership. BMW Group announced plans for its first manufacturing facility outside of Germany more than 26 years ago; today, the result is the largest BMW plant in the world.
In September 1994, a BMW 318i rolled off the line at Plant Spartanburg and into the history books, becoming the first American-made BMW ever built. At the time, only 500 people worked at the plant. Today, 4.4 million BMW vehicles later, the plant’s workforce totals 10,000 with another 1,000 expected to join by 2021.
The plant has made BMW a major American job creator outside of South Carolina as well: According to a study by the University of South Carolina, BMW creates 90 jobs in the United States for every 10 jobs it creates at facilities like Spartanburg. BMW also continues to give back to its workforce, with BMW Group investing more than $220 million into vocational and continued training for its Spartanburg team with another $200 million in investments planned over the next five years.
Production of the X5, the industry’s first Sports Activity Vehicle®, kicked off in September 1999, ushering in a new stage for BMW. Then-BMW of North America Chairman and CEO Tom Purves said at the time that the X5 was intended to give drivers the best of both world, combining “legendary BMW performance, styling, luxury and technology with the roominess and versatility of a traditional SUV.”
Today’s fourth-generation BMW X5 appropriately stands as the 10th X model built at Spartanburg. It joins the BMW X3, BMW X4 and BMW X6 which are currently in production, and will soon be joined by the first-ever BMW X7, which will begin production at Spartanburg late this year.
This article is presented by New Century BMW in Alhambra, California.