BMW decision on second North America site location out before summer break

Article by Andrew Christian, on June 26, 2014

BMW Group is still deciding where it would build its second facility in North America, chief executive Norbert Reithofer said, adding that a decision will be out before the summer break. BMW is considering building manufacturing sites in in countries signatories to the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA countries include the United States, Canada and Mexico.

BMW disclosed in March that it would ramp up annual production capacity at its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina as it bids to reduce its reliance on Europe. BMW has been trimming the choices for the location, with two sites in Mexico under consideration, sources told Automotive News in April.

A report in by German daily Handelsblatt in May said that the carmaker is considering producing 3-series and 1-series cars – as well as Mini models -- at a new site in Mexico. The carmaker has quipped that it would need a new site in North America to stave off challenges from Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

The three German carmakers are all aiming for record deliveries this year, banking on growth in China and the United States. All three are expanding their manufacturing capacity to better fare with increasing demand. Mercedes builds SUVs at its Vance facility Alabama while Audi currently does not have output in North America, but is building a new site in San Jose Chiapa, Mexico.

Audi’s site will start building the Q5 SUV in 2016. Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche, meanwhile, remarked in February it may build a new plant in North America to add capacity as part of a plan to introduce 30 new models by 2020.

In March, BMW disclosed plans to invest $1 billion for expanding its South Carolina site, allowing it to produce up to 450,000 vehicles annually by 2016. The site will start soon produce large SUV dubbed as the X7. Once the expansion is complete, the South Carolina site will surpass BMW’s Dingolfing plant in Germany as its largest facility in the world. [source: automotive news - sub. required]

Topics: bmw, norh america

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