Jim Fair, GreerToday.com
Site preparation for the third body shop on the campus is expected to include production of the X7, the largest of the SUV family, providing three rows of seats.
“The body shop is part of BMW’s $1 billion expansion,” Steve Wilson, spokesman for BMW Manufacturing, said. “We’ve just completed our second paint shop.”
Some gas infrastructure has been added by Greer Commission of Public Works.
“We’ve added a gas line along Brockman McClimon,” CPW General Manager Jeff Tuttle said. “We’ve done a few other things but nothing major was needed.”
The expansion, announced last year, includes production of the X7, the company’s largest SUV. The X7 will have three rows of seats, unlike the company’s other SUV offerings.The X7 will be built on the same platform as the X5 and X6 and reportedly be the first SUV offering a V12 engine. The Greer plant, the only United States manufacturer of BMWs, produces the family of X vehicles – X3, X4, X5 and X6.
BMW reportedly filed the site plan with the Spartanburg County Planning and Development Department last year. It also included expanding an existing employee parking lot to 371 more spaces and additional space for an “energy center” in the future.
“The energy center may not be as big as it sounds,” Wilson said.
BMW captures methane gas from a Spartanburg landfill and uses it to more efficiently cogenerate electrical power and heat water. The pressurized gas is then transported to BMW’s Energy Center.
The billion-dollar expansion, according to BMW, will increase plant capacity 50 percent with up to 450,000 vehicles annually and creates an additional 800 new jobs.
The expansion, when completed, means Greer will have the largest production capacity of any plant in BMW’s global production network.
Wilson said the launch of the X7 is more “in the distant future and not one I can put a timetable on,” he said.The Greer plant produced nearly 350,000 vehicles in 2014, and more than 70 percent of the total volume exported.
Already this year, BMW:
- Celebrated its 3 millionth vehicle produced in Greer
- U.S. Department of Commerce confirmed that BMW, with its annual value totaling $9.2 billion, is the largest U.S. automotive exporter of passenger vehicles by value
- BMW has completed its $900 million expansion announced in 2012 that increased annual production to 350,000 vehicles per year.
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