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Greer's BMW Manufacturing is No. 1 world automotive exporter

2011 exports are valued over $7 billion

STAFF REPORTS
Published on Thursday, March 1, 2012

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A BMW X3 and X5, assembled at Greer's BMW Manufacturing Co., are loaded onto a ship at the Port of Charleston.

BMW Photo

A BMW X3 and X5, assembled at Greer's BMW Manufacturing Co., are loaded onto a ship at the Port of Charleston.



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In 2011, more than 192,000 BMW Sports Activity Vehicles built at Greer's BMW Manufacturing were exported from the Port of Charleston.

BMW Photo

In 2011, more than 192,000 BMW Sports Activity Vehicles built at Greer's BMW Manufacturing were exported from the Port of Charleston.

BMW Manufacturing Co., headquartered in Greer, announced today that the export value of its passenger vehicles through the Port of Charleston in 2011 totaled $7.4 billion, confirming the company’s South Carolina facility as the leading U.S. automotive exporter.

According to data from the U.S. Department of Commerce, it represents a 68 percent increase over BMW's 2010 value. In 2011, over 192,000 vehicles were exported from its South Carolina plant.

Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing, said in a statement that, “since the plant’s production grew 73 percent in 2011, the plant’s year-end export value proves the company’s significant contribution to the U.S. balance of trade and strengthens its position as the leading provider of premium vehicles.”

BMW produces more than 1,000 vehicles a day and is the exclusive exporter of passenger vehicles through the Port of Charleston to more than 130 global markets. In January, the plant announced that its volume would increase to 300,000 for 2012 and it would create an additional 300 new jobs. By the end of 2014, the South Carolina facility will add a new model, the BMW X4, and increase capacity to 350,000 units.

"We've been the leading exporter to all NAFTA countries and now its all ours," Max Metcalf, BMW Manufacturing Communications Director, said. "This is a strong economic development message BMW is sending." State and national legislators have been wrangling over funding the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project.

The South Carolina House of Representatives’ Ways and Means Committee last month, established the Harbor Deepening Reserve Fund and included $180 million in non-recurring funds to be used for deepening the state’s harbors, including the Charleston Post 45 Harbor Deepening Project.  The state is seeking to deepen the harbors to 50-feet to handle the largest freighters in the world.

The fund would be used to cover the state’s share of construction costs following the completion of the project’s feasibility study. The total deepening project cost is estimated at $300 million and 60 percent, or $180 million, would be funded by the state. Any expenditures from the fund would require approval by the South Carolina General Assembly through a joint resolution. The full House of Representatives will take up the budget in early March.

“BMW continues to offer an economic boost for our state and the region," Gov. Nikki Haley said. "Today’s announcement is proof that the U.S. automotive industry is thriving in South Carolina.”

“BMW vehicles manufactured in South Carolina continue to be a major contributor to the Port of Charleston’s overall success,” said Jim Newsome, President & CEO of the South Carolina Ports Authority. “Consistently strong global sales have driven BMW’s volume growth at the port, and we’ve completed significant improvements to Columbus Street Terminal in anticipation of the ever-rising demand for their product.”

“This is an exciting achievement, not only for BMW, but for South Carolina as a whole. It’s been a great journey to witness the revitalization of the manufacturing sector in our state,” said Bobby Hitt, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce.

The plant originally began vehicle production in 1994. In the last 17 years, BMW has produced over 2 million vehicles and, today, exports about 70 percent of the BMW X3 and X5 Sports Activity Vehicles as well as the X6 Sports Activity Coupe. In 2010, the plant’s export value was $4.4 billion.

Businesses mentioned in this article.

BMW, Greater Greer Chamber of Commerce, Greer CPW, Greer Development Corporation

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