By on June 26, 2014


Still mulling over where to build a second North American factory, BMW CEO Norbert Reithofer stated his company would have an answer before the automaker goes on summer break.

Automotive News Europe reports the automaker is considering countries who have signed the North American Free Trade Agreement, including Canada, United States and Mexico, for a factory where it may build the 3 and 1 series, as well as MINIs.

BMW is doing this in order to properly battle Teutonic competitors Audi and Mercedes, both of whom have or will have factories in place to meet demand, as well as better handle currency challenges by producing popular vehicles in the same market they are bought. All three are also battling it out on record deliveries for 2014, with China and the U.S. as the battleground.

Meanwhile, BMW is spending $1 billion to expand its Spartanburg, S.C. plant to 50 percent increased production capacity by 2016, when the full-size X7 will be among the 450,000 X Series SUVs to leave the line annually. The outgoing record holder in Dingolfing, Germany produced 342,000 3, 5, 6 and 7 series models in 2013.

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16 Comments on “BMW To Announce Second North American Factory Before Summer Break...”

  • avatar

    Mexico, here we come!

  • avatar

    A right-to-work state with a very small amount of union workers and good transportation is where BMW should locate.

    South Carolina is already good. I feel selfish for suggesting Georgia, but my AP Human class did an assignment to find the best location for an automotive factory, and down near Macon was a great spot. Near I-75, a larger population, and abundant, inexpensive land.

    • 0 avatar

      Georgia is a good one, pretty much anything Alabama, Georgia, and SC. Georgia has KIA as well as the Porsche headquarters (being moved to the old Ford Taurus plant in Hapeville area), Alabama has M-B and Hyundai, and of course SC has the current BMW factory. I know a lot of these are along the I-85 Corridor, but 75 could be a unique opportunity, maybe even further south from Macon, if needed/wanted – could really be an economic boon in the rural south.

      • 0 avatar

        I think the reason Kia and Hyundai have placed themselves on I-85 is because 85 becomes 95 in Virginia, giving way for easier travel to the populous northeastern market.

        I forgot about I-16 at the time I wrote that comment (I live in Steve’s part of the state), but that could help get cars to 95, rather than going up 75, merging with 85 at the perimeter, and heading all the way through vast amounts of Carolinas.

      • 0 avatar

        I-85? I seem to recall passing the Kia and Hyundai plants off of I-65 when I went to Florida last, maybe they moved.

        • 0 avatar

          I may have screwed up with Hyundai, but I-65 doesn’t run through Georgia, where the Kia plant is located.

          I-85 merges into 65 at around Montgomery or so, and the Hyundai plant is located in that area. I know this because my grandparents live in Mobile, and when my dad and I went to visit them in October, we passed both the Kia and Hyundai plants. I do know, for a fact, that the Hyundai plant isn’t far from merging with 65 or merging with 85, which is why it’s confusing.

          • 0 avatar

            My bad then, I knew I had gone by the Hyundai plant, but I guess I thought I had seen the Kia plant as well. I’ve had a couple of friends move to the Hyundai plant and the Kia plant after they were done with Toyota. And a few to the BMW plant in SC, I guess we will lose some to the new BMW when it gets announced as well.

  • avatar

    Now, why does that 3-Series have four doors? Is it a Special Edition LWB 3-Series?

    I like that grey/brown metallic though. That color will age well.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Seems like the transplants have a formula for success that requires: Cheap and abundant land, A labor pool where the perspective is that a factory job is an opportunity, access to transportation infrastructure, proximity to suppliers, access to universities who are willing to participate in the engineering and business opportunities.

    So, i think we can rule out the Northeast and California because of expensive land. Florida is a bit too far from suppliers. Michigan labor is too expensive. The rest of the Midwest is too far from ports for shipping these things abroad.

    Sounds like another win in the works for Dixie, somewhere between Mississippi and South Carolina. I don’t think the South will “rise again” as it appears to have risen.

  • avatar

    BMW has been leaning towards Mexico for a while. Not just in North America, but the world. Nothing else comes close.

  • avatar

    It’s a sad commentary about the state of American pay levels that an automaker looking to cut costs decides to build a factory here.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think it’s correlated to American pay levels although, among other things, it is correlated to the weakness of our currency relative to theirs. I agree with the spirit of your post, but not the letter, so to speak.

      • 0 avatar

        You are right! Relative pay levels aren’t the only factor; currency is an important decision criteria as well.

        What is interesting is that BMW views the US as a manufacturing base, and with this factory will soon be producing more vehicles here than they sell. Honda already builds about as many cars in North America as they sell here, and is increasingly becoming a net exporter of vehicles.

        So the myth about all the manufacturing heading to China is just that. The number of manufacturing jobs in the US continues to fall, but manufacturing output rises, due to improvements in labor productivity.

    • 0 avatar

      No, it’s a testament to the advancement of automation that low-waged, relatively-uneducated individuals can be brought in to assemble complex machinery.

      It’s truly the #1 job killer – not the usual suspects that you hear about on the cable news shows.

  • avatar

    I understand the necessities to move and localize production, but look at the quality levels of VW, MB, Toyota, BMW, Honda, and so on. They all took a huge plunge with very slow improvement. The suppliers, often required to relocate to the US, then are under tremendous pressure to cut cost and provide massive milk runs to avoid any downtime by any means. Who really benefits? Where are the merits?

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