BMW in the United States

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BMW Zentrum Spartanburg (visitor center)

BMW cars have been officially sold in the United States since 1956[1] and manufactured in the United States since 1994.[2] The first BMW dealership in the United States opened in 1975.[3] In 2016, BMW was the twelfth highest selling brand in the United States.[4]

The manufacturing plant in Greer, South Carolina has the highest production volume of the BMW plants worldwide,[5] currently producing approximately 1,900 vehicles per day.[6] The models produced at the Spartanburg plant are the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 SUV models.

In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW's North American companies include sales, marketing, design, and financial services operations in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Latin America.

Spartanburg manufacturing plant[edit]

Coordinates: 34°53′35″N 82°10′44″W / 34.89306°N 82.17889°W / 34.89306; -82.17889

BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC
Limited liability company
Founded1992 (1992), Greer, South Carolina[7]
Greer, South Carolina
United States
Area served
Key people
Knudt Flor (President)[7]
ProductsBMW X3, BMW X4, BMW X5, BMW X6, BMW X7
Number of employees
8,800 [8]

The BMW US Manufacturing Company, also known as BMW Spartanburg, is a vehicle assembly facility for BMW Group and is located in Greer, South Carolina;[9] it is BMW's only assembly plant in the United States. The plant is currently BMW's sole global production site for X4, X5, X6, and X7 crossover SUVs whose biggest market is the U.S., while other BMW models sold in the U.S. market are imported. The X3 is also produced in BMW's Rosslyn plant in South Africa.


BMW announced in 1992 that it would build a 1,150-acre (470 ha) manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States to strengthen its international production system. The plant opened in 1994.[5]

In 2010 BMW announced that it would spend $750 million to expand operations at the Greer plant. This expansion will allow production of 240,000 vehicles a year and will make the plant the largest car factory in the United States by number of employees.[10] BMW's largest single market is the United States, where 339 dealerships sold 346,023 cars in 2015.[11]

The $2.2 billion plant, which employs 23,000 (BMW and contract), is part of the company’s global five-plant production network.

The automaker announced in 2014 an additional $1 billion investment in the facility that will make Spartanburg, South Carolina BMW's largest US factory, with an annual capacity of 480,000 units[12] when including the X7.[13] There were 411,171 vehicles produced in 2016, of which 70% were exported to 140 countries.[5] The plant is the largest BMW plant in the world in terms of vehicle production volume.[14]

A nearby dry inland port, 200 miles from the port of Charleston, handles many of the plant's needs for cargo and finished vehicles. In 2015, 250,000 new cars were sent by rail from BMW Spartanburg to Charleston port.[15] Some air freight is also used.[16]

Current products[edit]

Previous products[edit]

  • E36 3 Series (1994–1996; BMW Plant Spartanburg was not the sole producer of these 3 Series models)
    • 318i Sedan (1994–1995)
    • 318is Coupe (1994–1995)
    • 328i Sedan (1996)
  • Z3 (1995–2002)
    • Roadster
    • M Roadster
    • Coupe
    • M Coupe
  • Z4 (first generation 2003–2008; second-generation assembly was transferred to Regensburg, Germany in 2008)
    • Roadster
    • M Roadster
    • Coupe
    • M Coupe

Model range in the U.S.[edit]

Models offered[edit]

There are several models which have been solely sold in the United States:

There are also several international models which were not sold in the United States:

  • 2004-2011 BMW 1 Series (E81/E87) hatchbacks: Due to the poor sales figures of its predecessor (the BMW 3 Series Compact, sold in the US from 1994-1999), the hatchback models of the first generation 1 Series were also not sold in the US.[23]
  • 1987-present station wagons: Many of BMW's station wagon ("Touring") models have not been available in the US.[24]

Engines offered[edit]

Several BMW engines have not been officially sold in the United States, due to emissions regulations. These include:

  • M20: Early versions of the M20 engine, which used Jetronic fuel-injection, were not sold in the US.
  • M52: Due to high-sulfur fuel in the US at the time, most M52 engines sold in the US used an iron block, instead of the aluminium block used in other markets.[25]
  • N53: Due to high-sulfur fuel, the US was one of several countries where the N53 was not sold. Instead, its N52 predecessor remained in use in these countries.[26][27]
  • S50/S52: For the E36 M3, the United States models used different engines to the models used in most other markets. The S50B30US and S52 engines used in the US are less powerful than the equivalent Euro-specification S50 engines.[28][29]

"Bimmer" and "Beemer" nicknames[edit]

Some people in the United States prescribe that "beemer" should be used specifically for motorcycles and "bimmer" should be used for cars.[30][31][32][33][34][35] Some of these people claim that "true aficionados" make this distinction[36] and those who don't are "uninitiated."[37] Usage in North American mainstream media also varies, for example The Globe and Mail of Canada prefers Bimmer and calls Beemer a "yuppie abomination",[38] and the Tacoma News Tribune says that it is "auto snobs" who use the terms to distinguish between cars and motorcycles.[39]


  1. ^ "Isetta 300 model selection". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Company - History". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  3. ^ "This is how BMW became the top selling luxury car company in the U.S." Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  4. ^ "Sales by Manufacturer". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  5. ^ a b c "BMW Plant Spartanburg leads U.S. auto exports". Roundel. BMW Car Club of America: 30. April 2015. ISSN 0889-3225.
  6. ^ "Production Overview | BMW US Factory". Retrieved 2017-05-26.
  7. ^ a b "Company Overview of BMW Manufacturing Co". Retrieved April 11, 2015.
  8. ^ "Production Overview - Stats and Information". BMW Manufacturing Co. LLC. Retrieved November 20, 2015.
  9. ^ "Directions to BMW Plant". BMW Manufacturing. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  10. ^ Bennett, Jeff (14 October 2010). "BMW to Expand Plant in South Carolina". The Wall Street Journal. p. B5.
  11. ^ BMW Group U.S. Reports December and 2015 Sales, 5 January 2016
  12. ^ Kurylko, Diana T. (28 March 2014). "BMW's Spartanburg plant will be company's biggest". Automotive News. Retrieved 11 April 2015.
  13. ^ Greg Thompson (30 September 2016). "BMW and Spartanburg: A port far from any storms". Automotive Logistics. Retrieved 6 April 2017. That Charleston facility now sees approximately 5,000 finished vehicles per week arriving via Norfolk Southern along a rail line that starts at the end of the BMW assembly line and testing centre in Greer. Of the 285,000 finished vehicles exported by the OEM from the plant during 2015, Charleston port was the point of departure for some 250,000 units.
  14. ^ "Spartanburg's Number Two in BMW plant production". Roundel. BMW Car Club of America: 31. April 2015. ISSN 0889-3225.
  15. ^ Greg Thompson (30 September 2016). "BMW and Spartanburg: A port far from any storms". Automotive Logistics. Retrieved 6 April 2017. That Charleston facility now sees approximately 5,000 finished vehicles per week arriving via Norfolk Southern along a rail line that starts at the end of the BMW assembly line and testing centre in Spartanburg. Of the 285,000 finished vehicles exported by the OEM from the plant during 2015, Charleston port was the point of departure for some 250,000 units.
  16. ^ "BMW consolidates air freight shipments between US and Germany - Automotive Logistics". 27 July 2016. Retrieved 23 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Plant Spartanburg Vehicle Models | BMW US Factory". Retrieved 26 May 2017.
  18. ^ "Out with the old, in with the new" (Press release). BMW AG. 16 October 2006. Retrieved 4 September 2008.
  19. ^ "Classic and Vintage BMW". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  20. ^ "BMW Bavaria Defense Mechanism". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  21. ^ "This Ten-Year-Old BMW Proves Why You Should Always Pick the Manual". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  22. ^ "FAQ E60 + E61 M5". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Forbidden Fruit: 2015 BMW 1-Series Hatchback". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  24. ^ "7 BMWs America never got". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  25. ^ "Engines". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  26. ^ "BMW N52 and N53 24 Valve Six Cylinder Engines". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  27. ^ "BMW's N52 versus N53 – what are we missing?". Retrieved 26 October 2017.
  28. ^ "FAQ E36 M3 3.0". Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  29. ^ "BMW S52 Engine". Retrieved 28 October 2017.
  30. ^ "Bimmer vs. Beemer". Boston Chapter BMW Car Club of America. Archived from the original on 1 July 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2007.
  31. ^ Duglin Kennedy, Shirley (2005). The Savvy Guide to Motorcycles. Indy Tech Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7906-1316-1. Beemer – BMW motorcycle; as opposed to Bimmer, which is a BMW automobile.
  32. ^ Yates, Brock (12 March 1989). "You Say Porsch and I Say Porsch-eh". The Washington Post. p. w45. Archived from the original on 19 September 2014. 'Bimmer' is the slang for a BMW automobile, but 'Beemer' is right when referring to the company's motorcycles.
  33. ^ Zesiger, Sue (26 June 2000). "Why Is BMW Driving Itself Crazy? The Rover deal was a dog, but it didn't cure BMW's desire to be a big-league carmaker—even if that means more risky tactics". Fortune Magazine. CNN. Archived from the original on 19 December 2013. Bimmers (yes, it's 'Bimmer' for cars—the often misused 'Beemer' refers only to the motorcycles).
  34. ^ Herchenroether, Dan (2004). Selling Air: A Tech Bubble Novel. Selling Air. ISBN 978-0-9754224-0-3.
  35. ^ "International – Readers Report. Not All BMW Owners Are Smitten". Business Week. The McGraw-Hill Companies. 30 June 2003. Archived from the original on 31 January 2012. Editor's note: Both nicknames are widely used, though Bimmer is the correct term for BMW cars, Beemer for BMW motorcycles. A Google search yields approximately 10 times as many references to Bimmer as to Beemer.
  36. ^ Morsi, Pamela (2002). Doing Good. Mira. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-55166-884-0. True aficionados know that the nickname Beemer actually refers to the BMW motorcycle. Bimmer is the correct nickname for the automobile
  37. ^ Hoffmann, Peter (1998). "Hydrogen & fuel cell letter". Peter Hoffmann. For the uninitiated, a Bimmer is a BMW car, and a Beemer is a motorcycle.
  38. ^ English, Bob (7 April 2009). "Why wait for spring? Lease it now". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, CA: CTVglobemedia Publishing. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013. If you're a Bimmer enthusiast (not that horrible leftover 1980s yuppie abomination Beemer), you've undoubtedly read the reviews,
  39. ^ The Nose: FWay students knew who they were voting for in school poll [South Sound Edition]. 25 October 2002. The News Tribune, p. B01. Retrieved 6 July 2009, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 223030831) "We're told by auto snobs that the word 'beemer' actually refers to the BMW motorcycle, and that when referring to a BMW automobile, the word's pronounced 'bimmer.'"

External links[edit]