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BMW opens $200M Spartanburg press shop, debuts newest X3

Ross Norton //June 21, 2024//

BMW debuted the newest BMW X3 June 21 at a ceremony celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Spartanburg County and the opening of a new $200 million press shop that will stamp sheet metal part for the new model. (Photo/BMW Manufacturing)

BMW debuted the newest BMW X3 June 21 at a ceremony celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Spartanburg County and the opening of a new $200 million press shop that will stamp sheet metal part for the new model. (Photo/BMW Manufacturing)

BMW debuted the newest BMW X3 June 21 at a ceremony celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Spartanburg County and the opening of a new $200 million press shop that will stamp sheet metal part for the new model. (Photo/BMW Manufacturing)

BMW debuted the newest BMW X3 June 21 at a ceremony celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Spartanburg County and the opening of a new $200 million press shop that will stamp sheet metal part for the new model. (Photo/BMW Manufacturing)

BMW opens $200M Spartanburg press shop, debuts newest X3

Ross Norton //June 21, 2024//

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This story has been updated.

BMW debuted the newest BMW X3 on June 21 at a ceremony celebrating 30 years of manufacturing in Spartanburg County and the opening of a new $200 million press shop that will stamp sheet metal parts for the new model.

A BMW Manufacturing associate grabs an opportunity for a selfie with Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the board of management of BMW AG, and Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. (Photo/Ross Norton)
A BMW Manufacturing associate grabs an opportunity for a selfie with Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the board of management of BMW AG, and Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. (Photo/Ross Norton)

The new press shop, announced in March 2022, creates 200 new jobs at the plant that already employs about 11,000 workers. It is part of the company’s worldwide local-for-local strategy to make parts close to where they are needed for assembly, Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, told more than 300 people attending the ceremony.

The BMW X3 Sports Activity Vehicle is assembled at BMW Manufacturing in Greer. The press shop will stamp out hang-on parts such as the vehicle’s doors, fenders, lift gate and exterior body sides.

“After 30 years of successful operation, we are further expanding our commitment,” Milan Nedeljkovic, member of the board of management of parent company BMW AG, said in the news release. “At the end of 2026, assembly of all-electric sports activity vehicles will start here in Spartanburg. This is a further step toward strengthening our global resilience.”

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By 2030, the BMW Group will assemble at least six fully electric models at the site, the release stated. The high-voltage batteries for the future BEVs from Spartanburg will come from Woodruff, where BMW is building an assembly plant for sixth-generation batteries.

“The advanced stamping processes on our new press line will ensure the highest quality, efficiency and consistency in body shop parts for our customers,” Engelhorn said. “Having this press shop onsite fits the BMW Group’s local-for-local strategy where we produce major parts at the location where we need them.”

The new shop includes more than 200 new jobs in careers such as tool and die technicians as well as electrical and mechanical maintenance for automated machinery, the release said. Dozens of workers trained in shops in Swindon in the United Kingdom and in Leipzig, Germany.

BMW will produce 1,000 limited X5s for the American market to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the model. (Photo/Ross Norton)
BMW will produce 1,000 limited X5s for the American market to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the model. (Photo/Ross Norton)

During the ceremony, Engelhorn and Randy Watson, regional vice president of the Southern Region for BMW of North American, introduced the fourth-generation BMW X3, one of the company’s best-selling vehicles in the country and worldwide. More than 1.7 million BMW X3s have been assembled at Plant Spartanburg since 2010.

They also rolled out a limited edition of the BMW X5 to celebrate that model’s 25 anniversary and the beginning of the company’s Sports Activity Vehicle line. Only 1,000 of the limited edition X5s will be manufactured, sold exclusively in the U.S. market, officials said. Since the first one rolled out in Spartanburg in 1999, nearly 3 million have been made and sold.

The press shop marks the beginning of the automotive production process, according to a BMW news release. An overhead crane moves the correct press tool into each station. The blank is fed into the first press station and transferred from one station to the next by robot-like automation technology. The line can run up to 18 strokes per minute, up to 10,000 parts per day.

After comments from Engelhorn, Nedeljkovic and Gov. Henry McMaster, those attending the ceremony saw the first parts roll down the line.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to rumble,” Engelhorn shouted over the rising din of machinery, then gave the order in German and English to start the line.

BMW and elected officials signed the first door to officially roll off the new press shop assembly line. (Photo/Ross Norton)
BMW and elected officials signed the first door to officially roll off the new press shop assembly line. (Photo/Ross Norton)

The first part, a driver side door panel, was displayed and signed by BMW and government officials, including McMaster, Sen. Lindsey Graham and Rep. William Timmons.

The plant has assembled more than 6.7 million BMWs in the 30 years since production began. More than 6.7 million vehicles have been assembled at Plant Spartanburg. Also assembled at the site are the X7 and XM Sports Activity Vehicles and the X4 and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.

The 1,150-acre campus includes 8 million square feet of space. There are three body shops with more than 2,600 robots, two paint shops and two assembly halls.

In 2022, BMW Group unveiled plans to invest another $1.7 billion in its U.S. operations, including $1 billion to prepare the Spartanburg plant to assemble fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a new plant in Woodruff to produce high-voltage batteries. By 2030, the BMW Group plans to assemble six fully electric models in the United States.

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