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BMW officials give clues to next week's announcement in Greer

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, presented an aggressive plan for sales and growth Monday  in Munich. He will be in Greer next Friday to make a significant economic and product announcement.
 

BMW Group Photo

Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, presented an aggressive plan for sales and growth Monday  in Munich. He will be in Greer next Friday to make a significant economic and product announcement.

 



Enlarge photo

BMW relocated its export operations to a warehouse adjacent to the Inland Port, built on land leased from GSP. The $13.4 million, 440,000-square foot facility can be expanded to 750,000 square feet.
 

File Photo

BMW relocated its export operations to a warehouse adjacent to the Inland Port, built on land leased from GSP. The $13.4 million, 440,000-square foot facility can be expanded to 750,000 square feet.

 

BMW officials are expected to announce substantially increased vehicle production and possibly another expansion at the Greer manufacturing plant next week. The expansion would include hundreds of more jobs.

Greer’s Inland Port could also benefit from the increased Norfolk Southern rail traffic and the BMW warehouse adjacent to the port could also be affected by the announcement.

Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, presented an ambitious manufacturing and financial report at the company’s annual media conference Wednesday in Munich. Reithofer said all plans tie into the German company’s 100th anniversary in 2016.

Noting Greer’s 20th anniversary of production, Reithofer said, “Since 1994, we have more than quadrupled our sales in the US. Today, BMW is the largest exporter from a NAFTA country. Last year, we manufactured 300,000 cars at the site. The US will stay a market with great potential for us. This is why we are evaluating the possibility of increasing capacity in the US.”

BMW has scheduled a significant economic and product announcement at the Greer plant on March 28. Gov. Nikki Haley, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, Reithofer, Friedrich Eichiner, BMW financial chief, and Harald Krueger, head of the global production network, will attend. The international event will be streamed live on the Internet at 1 p.m.

Excluding the X1, Greer produces the X family brand. Two postings in Germany suggested an X2 is planned for a 2017 launch but not where it will be manufactured.

“We expanded production facilities for the X4 and the upcoming X6. Over the past ten years, the plant has built around 2.5 million BMWs,” Friedrich Eichiner, BMW’s financial chief, said. “We are also considering increasing the plant’s capacity. Located in the world’s largest premium market, it is a decisive factor in the success of the BMW Group.” 

The Greer plant is wrapping up a $900 million expansion announced in January 2012 that forecast production capacity to 350,000 units annually and to top out at 8,000 employees. The BMW web site lists 7,000 workers. The 350,000 goal previously announced indicates there may be new standards at next week's international announcement.

Reflecting on BMW’s benchmarks this year, Reithofer noted:

• The new BMW X3 sets a new benchmark for interior quality. It will be available in April.

• From July on, the new X4 will build on the great success of the X family in the premium mid-size segment.

The success of BMW in 2013 was emphasized when Reithofer said all of German associates received record bonuses. The Greer plant also reportedly distributed 12 percent bonuses to its employees – it largest to date. “This is the highest profit-related bonus we have ever paid to our associates,” Reithofer said.

Reithofer said BMW would sell more than 2 million vehicles in 2014, up from last year's 1.96 million. He also said the company is aiming for pretax profits “significantly above” last year's 7.9 billion euros ($11 billion).

BMW replaced its export operations from Duncan to a BMW Warehouse adjacent to the Inland Port, built on land leased from GSP. The $13.4 million, 440,000-square foot facility can be expanded to 750,000 square feet.

It was just a week ago that Greer Economic Development Executive Director Reno Deaton told city council the availability of warehouse inventory invited manufacturing and industrial growth.

Deaton said a 100,000 square foot Class A spec building is available for occupancy at Caliber Ridge. Liberty Property Trust contracted Harper Construction Corporation for the 156,000 sf project (56,000 sf is already occupied). Deaton warned city officials a year ago, in his annual report, Greer’s need for bigger spec warehouses.

Reithofer set the tone for the next two years at BMW facilities. “In 2016, BMW will mark its 100th anniversary – a historic milestone. I promise, we will not be looking in the rear-view mirror but focusing on the road ahead. We will be starting from pole position in creating and defining future mobility.”

 

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