While BMW is a German automaker, it builds many of its vehicles in the United States. BMW’s Spartanburg plant in South Carolina is the automaker’s largest manufacturing facility in the world — and produces 1,500 vehicles per day. This includes the X3 compact luxury SUV, which is BMW’s best-selling vehicle. However, BMW might move the production of the X3 to Mexico.
Production move of the BMW X3 from South Carolina to San Luis Potosi, Mexico
As detailed by CarBuzz, BMW is “weighing up plans to build the X3 at its San Luis Potosi plant in Mexico” instead of the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. Recently, the German automaker “announced the M2 would be built there as well, alongside the 3 Series and 2 Series Coupe.”
Oliver Zipse, the CEO of BMW, indicated that Mexico will play a major role in the future of BMW. He said, “At some point in time, you will see X models because the market demand is so high. That’s all I can say right now.”
Why would BMW build the X3 in Mexico instead of the US?
The BMW X3 is a very successful model. Since the X3 is BMW’s best-selling vehicle, its production needs are very high. Moving production of the X3 to Mexico enables the automaker to build more units of the X3 at another facility while freeing up space to produce other BMW models in South Carolina.
According to Automotive News Europe, the Spartanburg plant, despite its high production capabilities, is “nearly operating at full capacity, whereas the San Luis Potosi plant still has plenty of capacity to manufacture additional vehicles.” If the San Luis Potosi plant utilized its full production capabilities, it could match the production of the South Carolina plant.
While it is not clear what specific production plans BMW has for the X3, it is unlikely that it would completely move the production of the X3 from the U.S. to Mexico. Also, BMW builds many units of the X3 at its Rosslyn plant in South Africa.
What models does BMW build in the US?
In addition to the X3, BMW builds the X4, X6, X7, and iX SUVs in the U.S. — all at the Spartanburg plant in South Carolina. BMW will also build the first-ever XM at the Spartanburg plant. In 2021, BMW exported 257,876 X models from the U.S., with a value of over $10.1 billion, which makes it the largest automotive exporter in the U.S. for the eighth year in a row. Markets that BMW exports to from the U.S. include China and the United Kingdom.
At first glance, the news that BMW might move production of the X3 to Mexico might raise concerns about the loss of American jobs. However, the move is to increase production of the enormously popular X3, while freeing up space to produce other BMW models, including the XM. The Spartanburg is already at full capacity. With all this in mind, this move is unlikely to result in the loss of jobs.