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Plant Spartanburg
Aerials 5/7/21 - File: 050621GR56
New Study Shows That BMW Manufacturing Remains a Significant Economic Driver in South Carolina.

• Annual Economic Impact of $26.7 Billion in SC.

• Plant Spartanburg Supports Nearly 43,000 Jobs Across State.

• Plant’s Employment Accounts for 4.8% of All Manufacturing Jobs in SC.

• One of the Highest Employment Multipliers in South Carolina.

Spartanburg, S.C.  BMW Manufacturing, the largest BMW Group plant in the world, remains a high-performance economic engine for South Carolina through the company’s continued investment and job creation, according to a new study conducted by the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. The annual economic impact of the Spartanburg plant totals approximately $26.7 billion, the report says, which reflects all goods and services produced in the state both directly and indirectly.  

The study also shows that Plant Spartanburg supports, both directly and indirectly, 42,935 jobs across the state along with $3.1 billion in wages and salaries.  The plant’s direct employment base also accounts for 4.8 percent of all manufacturing jobs across South Carolina. 

“BMW has had a tremendous economic impact on the state,” said Dr. Joseph Von Nessen, research economist at the Darla Moore School of Business. “Their arrival in 1992 transformed the Upstate and South Carolina while creating an export-oriented automotive manufacturing cluster that has become one of the state’s fastest-growing industry sectors.”

The study, which was commissioned by BMW Manufacturing, said Plant Spartanburg’s statewide employment footprint has significantly expanded in recent years. Since 2017, the total number of jobs created, either directly or indirectly, increased by an average of 4.3 percent per year. That is more than three times the state’s average (1.3 percent) over the same period. 

From 2011 – 2021, South Carolina’s automotive manufacturing sector soared more than 167 percent, the study found, which is faster than any southeastern state. This extraordinarily high growth has helped drive the state’s overall manufacturing growth (+17.2%) and has enabled South Carolina to consistently outpace the national rate of economic growth (+6.3%) during the past decade. In addition, during this time, the plant produced nearly four million BMWs, and the number of jobs onsite expanded from about 6,500 to more than 11,000.

“Since coming to South Carolina thirty years ago, BMW has created thousands of sustainable jobs, invested in our people through training, and contributed to educational, cultural, and civic programs across the state,” said Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “Our success is due to the dedication of our associates, the support of our supplier network, and the collaboration and cooperation with state and local officials. Now we are moving forward as we begin the transformation of our plant towards battery-electric vehicles.” 

Last October, the BMW Group announced its electromobility plan for the United States. The $1.7 billion investment includes $1 billion to prepare the plant for the production of fully electric vehicles and $700 million to build a high-voltage battery assembly facility in Woodruff, SC. By 2030, the BMW Group will build at least six fully electric models in the United States. Due to the timing of this announcement, these investment dollars are not included in the study.

“BMW’s impact on South Carolina is far reaching. The company’s foresight in recognizing the possibilities of manufacturing automobiles here has contributed to our success as an automotive powerhouse,” said Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III. “I congratulate BMW on its sustained growth through Plant Spartanburg, and I look forward to seeing how BMW and South Carolina continue to impact the future of the automotive industry.”

BMW Has High Employment Multiplier of 3.5.

According to the study, nearly half of Plant Spartanburg’s annual economic impact comes from the operations of its in-state supplier base. BMW regularly uses more than 500 South Carolina suppliers, 90 percent of which are in the Upstate. 

Dr. Von Nessen said such a large in-state supplier base means BMW has a uniquely high employment multiplier of 3.5. This means that for every 10 jobs created at Plant Spartanburg, another 25 are created elsewhere in the state, for a total of 35 jobs. 

“This implies that secondary job creation from the plant’s business operations scale up local employment in ways that few other businesses are able to do,” said Dr. Von Nessen. “The combination of Plant Spartanburg’s high total volume of economic activity and its high employment multiplier of 3.5 make it a uniquely strong contributor to the state’s economy. BMW’s commitment to South Carolina will help ensure that the state continues to outpace the United States in economic growth throughout the 2020s as it has in the previous decade.”

Since 1992, the BMW Group has invested nearly $12.4 billion in its South Carolina operations. BMW Manufacturing is the largest BMW Group plant in the world, producing more than 1,500 vehicles each day. The plant is an important part of BMW’s global production network and plays a critical role in meeting the high demand for BMW Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes in the U.S. and around the world. Nearly 60 percent of its vehicles are shipped to about 120 global markets, making BMW the largest automotive exporter by value in the United States for nine consecutive years. In 2022, more than 60 percent of BMWs sold in the U.S. came from Plant Spartanburg.  The model portfolio includes six top-selling BMW X models, five Motorsport X models, and three plug-in hybrid electric vehicle X models. The factory has an annual production capacity of up to 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.  

Please Note:

To the extent that historical press releases reference BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC as the manufacturer of certain X model vehicles, the referenced vehicles are manufactured in South Carolina with a combination of U.S. origin and imported parts and components.