When some of think about BMW, we naturally envision its roots in the mountainous German state of Bavaria. Little mental pictures of Tyrolean hats, lederhosen, huge steins of lager and platters of wurst come to mind here. Today, it’s beneficial to understand that BMW is first an automaker, producing prized specialty cars for discriminating drivers, and they don’t always come from the Fatherland anymore. For the past quarter-century, a large part of BMW’s history has been written in the highlands of Spartanburg County, South Carolina, where it operates Plant Spartanburg, which is actually located in the city of Greer. Just this week, BMW achieved a milestone as the South Carolina assembly plant rolled out its 5 millionth vehicle, an amazing achievement when you consider that right or wrong, a lot of people still automatically associate the company with the mountains of Germany.
The benchmark Bimmer turned out to be a BMW X5 M Competition SUV in Toronto Red, powered by a 617hp twin-turbo V-8, outfitted with a Silverstone Full Merino leather interior. Given its significance, the X5 will remain on site at Spartanburg as part of BMW’s historic vehicle collection. The plant’s dedicated products include SUVs and BMW coupes, and now, more than half the vehicles BMW sells in the United States are South Carolina-produced. During its existence, Plant Spartanburg has turned out 411,620 new BMWs, firmly establishing it as BMW’s highest-volume assembly plant, with 11,000 workers on staff. One little-known statistic is that nearly 70 percent of the plant’s overall output is exported for sale in other world markets.