BMW Group mulls engine production in North America

Article by Christian Andrei, on December 12, 2013

BMW Group mulls producing engines in the United States or Mexico for the first time as well as expanding vehicle production in the region to take advantage of growing demand, three people privy with the matter told Bloomberg. BMW may decide on the matter in 2014, the people said. The carmaker has concentrated on developing fuel-efficient powertrains since Norbert Reithofer became chief executive in 2006.

BMW has been keeping its fuel-efficient powertrain technology under tight control, only commencing engine production outside Europe in 2012 – with 4-cylinder powerplants in Shenyang, China for its car sites in Dadong and Tiexi. "As part of our long-term growth strategy, we're frequently looking at different countries for possible locations of future production facilities," BMW spokesman Mathias Schmidt remarked.

BMW has only one site in North America, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, that was built in 1994. The site builds all the carmaker’s X3, X5 and X6 SUVs. BMW may expand its vehicle production in North America beyond a new model announced for 2014, the sources said.

BMW, Mercedes and Audi are expanding their outputs in North America to take advantage of sales-growth potential that is lacking in their European home market. BMW Group -- including the Mini brand -- logged a 9-percent increase in sales in the US in the first 11 months of 2013 to 331,801 cars. Daimler's Mercedes and Smart units grew 12 percent, while sales at Audi jumped 13 percent in the period.

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