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3 million: BMW toots Greer's horn for another manufacturing benchmark

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Tuesday, March 24, 2015

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BMW celebrated its three millionth vehicle to roll off Greer's assembly line. The vehicle, a Donington Grey Metallic X5 M with Mugello Red Full Merino leather seats and carbon fiber interior trim, was driven by Dawn Burgess, hired in 1994. Left to right are associates Thomas Watson, Pamela Shaw, Burgess, Shirley Scott and President and CEO, Manfred Erlacher.
 
 

BMW Manufacturing Co.

BMW celebrated its three millionth vehicle to roll off Greer's assembly line. The vehicle, a Donington Grey Metallic X5 M with Mugello Red Full Merino leather seats and carbon fiber interior trim, was driven by Dawn Burgess, hired in 1994. Left to right are associates Thomas Watson, Pamela Shaw, Burgess, Shirley Scott and President and CEO, Manfred Erlacher.

 

 



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The 3 millionth BMW assembled in Greer awaits the celebration.
 

The 3 millionth BMW assembled in Greer awaits the celebration.

 



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The best fit process at work.
 

BMW Manufacturing Co.

The best fit process at work.

 



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A glimpse of the paint shop and the process of making the vehicles colorful.
 

BMW Manufacturing Co.

A glimpse of the paint shop and the process of making the vehicles colorful.

 



Just like clockwork, another special ceremony was held at the Greer plant this morning, as  BMW celebrated its three millionth vehicle to roll off the assembly line.

The vehicle, a Donington Grey Metallic X5 M with Mugello Red Full Merino leather seats and carbon fiber interior trim, was driven by associate Dawn Burgess, hired in 1994. Burgess presented the keys to the vehicle to Manfred Erlacher, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing.

The three millionth BMW will be prepared for shipment to a customer in Kristianstad, Sweden.

Other benchmark dates for the Greer plant are:

• 2 millionth BMW produced, June 12, 2012

• 1 millionth BMW assembled, Feb. 28, 2006

• 1st American manufactured BMW, 318i, Sept. 8, 1994

BMW executives and state leaders also continued to praise the automaker as the largest U.S. automotive exporter, its continued investment including the present $1 billion expansion, through 2016, which will feature the new X7 model, and its 50 percent capacity increase and hiring.

Jim Newsome, President and CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority, has become a regular on the BMW cheerleading circuit with the Greer Inland Port providing a substantial exporting tool.

“BMW operations are a tremendous asset to our port and state, and we are proud to celebrate the milestone achievement of three million vehicles produced with their leadership and talented workforce,” Newsome said.

“Automotive manufacturing is significant to the port for both import and export volume growth. BMW is the largest user of our roll-on/roll-off facility at the Columbus Street Terminal as well as the SC Inland Port, and their expansions have been exciting opportunities for us. We value our role in BMW’s international supply chain and look forward to a strong continued partnership.”

Erlacher pronounced this morning’s celebration another benchmark for automobile manufacturing in the state. “The growth of this plant has been quite extraordinary,” said Erlacher. “Today, as we witness another historic moment, I am delighted to announce that BMW’s profound impact in South Carolina continues. I am grateful for our dedicated associates and their commitment to building premium vehicles for the world.”

Bobby Hitt, former BMW communications manager in Greer and now South Carolina Secretary of Commerce, said, “For over 20 years, BMW has been a catalyst for the exponential growth of our state’s auto sector, which today includes companies in 40 of our 46 counties. But beyond our borders, it’s a point of pride for our workforce that now three million world class, quality-made vehicles have been delivered for the global market – from right here in South Carolina.”

Other vehicles on display were:

• First vehicle produced, an Alpine White 318i (September 1994)

• One millionth vehicle, an Interlagos Blue Z4 M (February 2006)

• Two millionth vehicle, a Vermillion Red X3 (January 2012)

With an annual value totaling $9.2 billion, BMW’s Greer production facility exceeded exports from Michigan, Alabama and California. In 2014, nearly 250,000 vehicles were exported from its South Carolina plant, over 70 percent of the plant’s total volume. The U.S. Department of Commerce, in February 2015, confirmed that BMW is the largest U.S. automotive exporter of passenger vehicles by value.

The Greer plant produces more than 1,200 vehicles each day, according to BMW. The factory is the exclusive producer of all BMW X3, X4, X5 and X6 vehicles (and their variants) to more than 140 global markets.

In 2014, the plant celebrated two decades of production and announced a production capacity increase to 450,000 vehicles that will make the Greer plant the largest BMW plant in the world. In addition, by the end of 2016, the plant has committed to adding 800 more jobs, bringing the total employment at the plant to nearly 9,000, according to BMW.

 

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