BMW Manufacturing Co. has hit another production milestone.
The Spartanburg County-based automaker announced Friday, Sept. 8, that it has produced its 4 millionth vehicle since it began assembly in 1994.
“This achievement reflects the commitment and dedication of every associate to produce premium quality vehicles,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co., in a statement. “Customers around the world love our products, and our X models are an important part of the company’s success.”
BMW Manufacturing Co.’s announcement comes 23 years to the day after plant associate Ryan Childers drove the first BMW made in the Upstate – a 318i – off the assembly line.
The 4 millionth milestone vehicle is a Phytonic Blue Metallic BMW X3 xDrive M40i with a Vernasca Cognac leather interior, which will be shipped to a BMW dealer in Vienna, Austria, the company said.
BMW Manufacturing Co., which was the luxury car company’s first plant outside its native Germany, has grown into a nearly $8 billion investment with more than 5 million square feet of production space and 9,000 employees.
In terms of volume, the plant is BMW’s largest manufacturing facility in the world and the production hub of its popular light trucks division, including the X3, X4, X5, and X6 Sports Activity Vehicle models.
The plant will soon begin production of the full-size X7 model, which is set to hit dealerships in late 2018.
BMW Manufacturing Co. said its associates currently produce 1,400 vehicles per day. The plant has the capacity to produce 450,000 vehicles annually.
An additional $600 million investment in the plant announced by BMW in June will bring the facility’s employment to about 10,000 associates by 2022.
BMW Manufacturing Co. remained the nation’s largest automotive exporter in 2016.
It shipped 287,700 vehicles, or about 70 percent of the 411,000 vehicles it produced during the previous year, to 140 markets worldwide. Nearly 86 percent of those vehicles were exported via the Port of Charleston.
The plant’s exports were valued at $9.53 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, confirming it as the country’s leading car exporter in terms of value for a third consecutive year.
BMW Manufacturing Co. hit its 4 millionth vehicle milestone just 29 months after celebrating its 3 millionth milestone. It hit its 2 millionth milestone 39 months prior to that, demonstrating the plant’s growth in production.
BMW Manufacturing Co. Millionth Milestones:
1 Millionth -Feb. 28, 2006 (Z4 M Roadster)
1.5 Millionth -Sept. 8, 2009 (X6 xDrive35i)
2 Millionth -Jan. 12, 2012 (X3 xDrive35i)
2.5 Millionth-Sept. 17, 2013 (X5 xDrive50i)
3 Millionth-March 24, 2015 (X5 M)
3.5 Millionth-May 18, 2016 (X4 xDrive20i)
4 Millionth-Sept. 8, 2017 (X3 xDrive M40i)