BMW Manufacturing Co. in Greer is adding a 170,000 square-foot expansion to the body shop and 300,000 square-feet added to the paint shop (above).
The company is also on pace to add 300 jobs this year, said Sky Foster, BMW corporate communications manager. BMW hosted a small contingent of local media for a tour of the areas under construction this morning.
“(Those jobs) are really in all areas – production, IT and administration,” Foster said, noting that the company is continuing its BMW Scholars program as well as regional and national recruiting efforts.
The BMW Scholars program is offered to students seeking manufacturing-related degrees at Tri-County Tech, Greenville Tech and Spartanburg Community College to work part-time at BMW while attending school and become candidates for full-time employment after attaining their degrees.
“There’s a war going on for technical talent,” Foster said. “So, we’re growing our own – (students) can get their degrees while working here and learning things the BMW way.”
The additional jobs are connected to some of the $900 million of investments in the facility made by BMW through 2014, including a 170,000 square-foot expansion to the body shop and 300,000 square-feet added to the paint shop.
Part of the expansion to the BMW campus, which now covers 11.5 acres along the Greenville/Spartanburg corridor along I-85 in Greer, is designed to produce BMW’s new X4 model.
The company’s line of “sport activity vehicles” – the X3, X5 and X6 – are produced at the Greer facility.
The advent of the X4 was announced earlier this year. The crossover vehicle is expected to be a “little brother” to the in-production X6 and, according to Car and Driver, share its powertrain and underpinnings with the X3.
No timetable has been set to begin production of the X4, said BMW Operations Manager Steve Wilson.
The Greer facility is on track to up its production capacity to 350,000 vehicles in the coming year. Since beginning production in 1994, BMW has manufactured 2.2 million vehicles.
Wilson said 300,000 vehicles are expected to roll off the assembly lines this year.
The increases and investments at BMW have occurred in the face of the recession and a continuing sluggish economy.
“When the economic downturn happened, we announced the expansion,” Foster said. “And we’re on schedule. . . . We’re making a difference in this area and, really, in South Carolina.”