- BMW’s Plant Spartanburg pumps $26.7 billion into South Carolina’s economy each year.
- BMW’s $1.7 billion investment is the largest single investment ever in South Carolina.
- As of this year, BMW Group has invested a total of $12.4 billion in Plant Spartanburg,
BMW’s Plant Spartanburg pumps $26.7 billion into South Carolina’s economy each year and supports 42,935 jobs and $3.1 billion in wages and salaries statewide, according to a report released Tuesday.
“BMW has had a tremendous impact on the state,” said the report’s author Joey Von Nessen, a research economist at the University of South Carolina’s Darla School of Business. “Their arrival in 1992 transformed the Upstate and South Carolina.”
Von Nessen presented his findings at an event Tuesday at BMW’s Zentrum, where BMW President and CEO Robert Engelhorn gave an update on the plant’s transformation to battery-electric vehicles. By 2030, the BMW Group plans to build at least six fully electric models in the U.S.
The economic impact study was commissioned by BMW Manufacturing.
The $26.7 billion reflects all goods and services produced in the state, both directly and indirectly, Von Nessen said. Direct and indirect economic multipliers were used to determine the figure.
For example, a direct impact of BMW’s growth includes employee wages and benefits, equipment, building construction, technology, vendors and overhead costs. The spending creates demand and leads to new job creation.
An indirect impact comes from links between local suppliers, which in turn purchase materials and hire employees. Also, household spending is added, with wages spent locally by employees on food, health care, entertainment and more.
“These (repetitive) rounds of spending continue to ripple through the economy and ultimately affect many industrial sectors,” Von Nessen said.
The report notes that since 2017, the total number of jobs created by BMW, directly or indirectly, increased an average of 4.3% a year. That’s more than three times the state’s average of 1.3% over the same period.
Von Nessen said nearly half of Plant Spartanburg’s economic impact in South Carolina comes from its in-state supplier base. The plant regularly uses more than 500 suppliers statewide, with more than 90% of them located in the Upstate.
“For every 10 jobs created at Plant Spartanburg, another 25 are created elsewhere in South Carolina,” the report states. “This multiplier is among the highest in South Carolina across all major industry sectors and more than twice as high as the average industry multiplier in the state.”
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Last October, BMW Group announced a $1 billion capital investment to prepare the Spartanburg plant for the production of fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a 1 million-square-foot high-voltage battery assembly plant with 300 new jobs in nearby Woodruff.
The $1.7 billion investment is the largest single investment ever in South Carolina, Gov. Henry McMaster noted at the announcement.
S.C. Secretary of Commerce Harry Lightsey said South Carolina has become an “automotive powerhouse,” thanks to BMW’s decision to locate here three decades ago.
“I look forward to seeing how BMW and South Carolina continue to impact the future of the automotive industry,” he said.
BMW already building electric vehicles for worldwide market
Headquartered in Germany, the luxury car maker in 2021 began production of fully electric vehicles at its Munich plant.
In North America, BMW currently offers two pure EVs, the BMW iX SUV and the BMW i4. In China, the automaker also offers the BMW i3 and its first-ever fully electric 7-series, the BMW i7 sedan, which is slated to be released in North America this year.
The Spartanburg plant has its own battery assembly facility onsite, which produces lithium-ion battery modules for three plug-in hybrid electric vehicle models – the BMW X3 xDrive30e, the BMW X5 xDrive50e, and the BMW XM. Last year, 69,200 electrified BMWs were produced.
BMW’s roots in Spartanburg date to 1992 announcement
Engelhorn said BMW’s Upstate roots began in 1992 when BMW Group announced it would build its first full manufacturing facility outside of Germany in Spartanburg County, with a $600 million capital investment and the creation of 2,000 jobs at the facility. The plant began production in 1994.
As of this year, BMW Group has invested a total of $12.4 billion in Plant Spartanburg, which includes six major plant expansions, the report states. Plant Spartanburg produces more than 1,500 vehicles a day and employs more than 11,000 workers.
Roughly two-thirds of Spartanburg’s production was exported to more than 120 world markets from 2010 to 2020.Production of the first-ever BMW XM vehicle with a V8 gasoline engine and an electric motor began at Plant Spartanburg in December. The vehicle will arrive at dealers worldwide this spring, according to BMW.
It is being built along the same assembly line as the BMW X5, BMW X6 and BMW X7. The plant also produces the X3, X4, XM, X3 M, X4 M, X5 M and X6 M.
BMW Group is the largest exporter by value from the U.S., with a total export value of nearly $9.6 billion in 2022.