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Old 03-27-2014, 11:05 PM
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BMW X7 addition poised to make U.S. plant automaker's biggest
Automotive News Europe
March 27, 2014 20:30 CET

BMW's U.S. factory is on track to become the automaker's largest -- passing its plant in Dingolfing, Germany -- with the addition of the X7.

On Friday, BMW will outline plans to build the seven-seat crossover in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and expand annual capacity to 400,000 units, a person familiar with the plan has told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automotive News.

BMW's Dingolfing plant was the automaker's largest producer last year with a volume of 342,600 models such as the 5-, 6- and 7-series sedans. Spartanburg ranked second in BMW's global network with a 2013 volume of 297,300 crossovers such as the X3, X5 and X6.

BMW sales boss Ian Robertson told Automotive News Europe in January that Spartanburg already was on track to become the company's largest plant because of this year's addition of the X4 crossover, which is forecast to help boost the plant's volume to 350,000 units year. With the X7, the volume is expected to grow by another 50,000 units.

Since producing its first car 20 years ago, the Spartanburg factory has been expanded to rank as the industry's biggest producer of vehicles exported from North America, according to BMW.

The flexible, high-volume plant is the German automaker’s "center of competence" for crossover production, CEO Norbert Reithofer says.

It has also played a key part in BMW’s nine-year reign as the world’s best-selling luxury brand, a title being challenged this year by Volkswagen Group’s Audi.

The X7's top sales market is expected to be the United States.

BMW’s first and only factory in North America, Spartanburg has produced about 2.5 million vehicles since 1994. BMW has invested $6.3 billion at the site since 1992, when construction began.
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