Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

BMW exports are tops in the nation by this measure

Ross Norton //February 22, 2023//

BMW exports are tops in the nation by this measure

Ross Norton //February 22, 2023//

Listen to this article

More than 227,000 SAVs and coupes made in Spartanburg County were exported, most of them through the Port of Charleston. (Photo/Provided)BMW Manufacturing exported nearly $9.6 billion in vehicles in 2022, more in terms of dollar value than any other automotive exporter.

It is the ninth year in a row the Spartanburg County plant has led the nation in export value. The figures are based on data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, according to a news release from BMW Group.

Exported were 227,029 sports activity vehicles and coupes of the 416,301 vehicles produced last year at Plant Spartanburg, according to the news release. More than 182,000 left the country through the Port of Charleston and others were exported from Savannah; Brunswick, Ga.; and Jacksonville, Miami and Everglades, Fla. Another 17,000 were exported by rail.

Germany was the top export market for South Carolina-made BMWs, accounting for 15.5% of the export volume, followed by China (13.5%), South Korea (12.8%), Canada (7.5%) and Great Britain. Exports to Canada go by railroad.

“Free trade and open markets enable growth and prosperity,” BMW AG board member for production Milan Nedeljovic said in the news release. “BMW and South Carolina are a good example of this. I am proud of the Spartanburg plant’s continued performance, which contributes to the success of the BMW Group.”

The production total for 2022 was the second highest in plant history. Highlights of the year included the launch of the new BMW X7 model and launch of the all-new BMW XM, the company’s first high-performance car with an electric drive system. The plant also produced 69,200 plug-in hybrids, making up 16.6% of the site’s total volume.

“Customers around the world continue to seek out premium quality BMWs made in South Carolina, and we are proud to be the largest automotive exporter by value for the past nine years,” Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, said in the release. “Our success is due to the highly skilled and dedicated workforce at Plant Spartanburg. These achievements are significant and clearly reinforce BMW’s ongoing commitment to South Carolina and the United States.”

The company called its $1.7 billion electromobility plan in South Carolina to be the “year’s most significant highlight.”

Related article: BMW’s $1.7 billion investment.

In October, BMW Group Chairman of the Board of Management Oliver Zipse announced the investment, including $1 billion to prepare the plant for the production of fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a high-voltage battery assembly facility in Woodruff. By 2030, the BMW Group will build at least six fully electric models in the United States. 

Beginning in April, the plant will start production of the 2024 BMW X5 and BMW X6. These updated models include new design details, expanded standard equipment, and advancements in digital technology. The plug-in hybrid drive in the 2024 BMW X5 xDrive50e has significantly more power and a greater purely electric range than its predecessor. 

Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12.4 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day.

“For over three decades, BMW’s commitment to South Carolina continues to demonstrate the power of partnership,” S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster said in the release. “With record-setting exports and its latest electromobility investment at Plant Spartanburg, BMW not only shows the world that South Carolina paves the way to automotive success but that our state is home to the industry’s future.”