The news of the X7 SUV going into production has been doing the rounds for quite some time, but now BMW has officially confirmed it. Speaking at an event commemoratingÂ BMW’sÂ Spartanburg facility completing 20 years, company CEO Norbert ReithoferÂ said that this plant will commence production of the hotly anticipated X7 SUV by 2016.
The X7 will be the flagship of the Germanâs SUV range and will be based on the extended platform of the X5 and X6 SUVs. The car is expected to be a proper seven-seater and will get permanent four-wheel drive. The X7 will likely be introduced in the markets by 2018 and once launched will be a direct competitor to the GL-Class SUV by rival Mercedes-Benz.
The Spartanburg plant produces most of the X-range of Beemers including the X3, X5 and X6. BMW will be investing around one billion dollars by 2016 to expand annual production capacity of this plant to 4,50,000 units from the current 3,00,000 units. The plant will also be getting an upgrade so that it can manufacture the upcoming X7 and other planned X models. Considering the voracious appetite of Indian customers for SUVs, we expect the X7 to be offered in India soon after its global launch.
BMW GROUP EXPANDS U.S. PLANT IN SOUTH CAROLINA
Investment of one billion U.S. dollars by 2016
Production capacity to reach 450,000 vehicles Expansion will create 800 new jobs
BMW Group extends X family with new BMW X7
Production of new BMW X4 ramps up in Spartanburg
Munich/Spartanburg. The BMW Group is expanding capacity at its U.S. plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina. âTo meet strong global demand for our BMW X models, we will invest a total of one billion U.S. dollars in our Spartanburg plant by 2016. This will increase annual production capacity by 50% up to 450,000 vehicles from 300,000 currently,â explained Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Norbert Reithofer, at a special ceremony in Spartanburg on Friday commemorating 20 years of production in the U.S.
Among the guests attending the ceremony held on the plant grounds were U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker; Governor of the state of South Carolina, Nikki Haley; Board of Management member for Production, Harald KrĂźger; and head of BMW Plant Spartanburg, Manfred Erlacher.
BMW X7 to be built in Spartanburg
BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M models have been manufactured so far in Spartanburg, BMWâs centre of competence for X vehicles. Fridayâs event celebrated the start of production of the BMW X4. Norbert Reithofer also announced a further expansion of the X model family: âWith the BMW X7, we are developing another, larger X model, which we will produce at our U.S. plant for our world markets â once again underscoring our commitment to the U.S.â
During the ceremony, BMW Board of Management member for Production Harald KrĂźger talked about the importance of the U.S. to BMW Groupâs overall production strategy: âThe BMW Group aims for a good balance of growth between all markets and continents. The Spartanburg plant is an important building block in our international network of 28 production and assembly facilities in 13 countries today. It makes a vital contribution to profitable, globally-balanced growth.â
KrĂźger continued: âThe BMW plant in Spartanburg is the best example of our successful strategy of âproduction follows the marketâ. The state of South Carolina has supported us as a valuable and reliable partner throughout our 20-year involvement in the region and played a decisive part in making the U.S. our second home.â
Spartanburg workforce increases to 8,800
The plantâs expansion will also increase the number of employees at the U.S. facility significantly. âExpansion at the site will create 800 new jobs, bringing the total workforce in Spartanburg to 8,800,â Reithofer explained. âIt will also make Spartanburg the largest plant in terms of production capacity in our global production network,â he added.
According to a study released by the U.S. Department of Commerce, the annual export volume of BMWâs Spartanburg plant totals USD 7.5 billion â which makes the BMW Groupâs American facility the largest vehicle exporter in the United States, based on total exports excluding NAFTA. Approximately 70% of Spartanburgâs production is exported to BMW markets around the world.
A recent analysis published by the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina found that BMW Group activities in South Carolina had a total impact of around USD 16.6 billion on the state economy. The BMW Groupâs presence in South Carolina supports a total of 30,000 jobs. The study also cites the importance of the BMW Group for South Carolinaâs economic standing, improving technological and manufacturing competitiveness and establishing a high level of training.
Since the start of production in 1994, Spartanburg has built more than 2.6 million vehicles for BMW customers around the world. The models BMW X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M are all produced at the plant. In the near future, a plug-in hybrid version of the BMW X5 will also be produced here. A total of 297,326 vehicles were manufactured in Spartanburg in 2013, with around 1,100 vehicles currently produced per working day. The Spartanburg site presently employs around 8,000 staff.