This could free up much-needed production capacity at the Spartanburg facility.
Able to produce a staggering 1,500 vehicles a day, BMW's Spartanburg facility in South Carolina is the brand's biggest manufacturing plant in the world. The facility is responsible for building the carmaker's most popular products in the USA: the BMW X3 and X5. With XM SUV production expected to commence later this year, BMW is reportedly looking at moving some production of its X range elsewhere.
Per Automotive News Europe, the German automaker is weighing up plans to build the X3 at its San Luis Potosi plant, in Mexico. Just recently, the company announced the M2 would be built there as well, alongside the 3 Series and 2 Series Coupe. CEO Oliver Zipse told the company that Mexico will play a significant role in the future. "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," he said.
As the brand's best-selling vehicle, it would make sense for BMW to increase X3 production at another facility while making space for other models at the Spartanburg plant. After all, the GLC rival made up 22.5% of the company's sales in the USA last year. It remains unclear as to what BMW is planning, but it seems unlikely that it would move X3 production over to Mexico entirely.
Automotive News Europe reports that the South Carolina plant is nearly operating at full capacity, whereas the San Luis Potosi plant still has plenty of capacity to manufacture additional vehicles. In fact, the Mexican facility can match the South Carolina factory, should its abilities be fully utilized. The X3 is a massively popular SUV; BMW's Rosslyn plant in South Africa also produces its fair share of X3s.
Apart from the X3 and X5, the Spartanburg facility is responsible for the production of the X4, X6, and X7 models. Last year, the brand exported a whopping 257,876 X models with a value of over $10.1 billion - no mean feat. This makes the German marque the USA's biggest automotive exporter for the eighth time in a row. Apart from producing vehicles for local consumption, BMW USA also exports to China and the UK, among other big markets.
The move to Mexico would make sense. BMW would be able to meet the overwhelming demand for the X3 and allow the Spartanburg facility to continue unabated with the controversial XM. With a 750-horsepower 4.4-liter V8 under the hood, the gargantuan SUV may not appeal to many, but there's a big market for vehicles such as this. Just ask Lamborghini - the Urus is living proof that high-riding, high-performance SUVs can do wonders for the bottom line.