State has surpassed Michigan in exports
San Francisco, CA -- (SBWIRE) -- 10/01/2012 -- The only BMW plant in the United States has become the country’s biggest auto exporter. The German automaker’s South Carolina factory, which produces BMW’s X3, X5 and X6 models, sent out 192,000 vehicles through Charleston’s port in 2011.
The National Association of Foreign Trade Zones has named BMW Manufacturing Co.’s production center in Spartanburg, S.C., the exporter of the year and has given it an award for most improvement in value.
This year, the carmaker plans to expand output to 300,000 vehicles with the addition of a new model.
South Carolina has beaten out Michigan for title of America’s largest auto exporter, the South Carolina Department of Commerce and state Ports Authority said early this year.
U.S. Department of Commerce data show the Spartanburg plant is the top vehicle exporter, the automaker said. “We’re very proud of our accomplishments,” said Sky Foster, a spokesperson for BMW.
The plant increased its exports 75% last year, from 110,000 vehicles shipped in 2010. In 2011, 276,065 vehicles were made in Spartanburg, the plant’s most productive year.
“BMW’s plant in South Carolina continues to be a leader in the passenger vehicle segment, and we applaud their results,” stated NAFTZ board chairman Lewis Leibowitz.
Foster, the BMW spokesperson, said 7,000 workers are employed at the Spartanburg plant and plans are to hire 300 this year to expand output to 300,000 vehicles. The automaker in January said in order to add the X4 vehicle and raise production to 350,000 vehicles a year, it would hire 1,000 more employees and invest $900 million. Foster said 70% of those vehicles would be for export.
South Carolina has plans for two projects intended to help BMW and other exporters. An inland port for shipped goods is planned for Spartanburg County. Another project would deepen the Port of Charleston to 50 feet from the previous 45 feet.
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