BMW said Friday it plans to invest up to $1 billion by 2016 to expand output of its X-series all-wheel drive SUV vehicles at its Spartanburg, S.C., factory.
"This will increase annual production capacity by 50 percent up to 450,000 vehicles from 300,000 currently," chief executive Norbert Reithofer was quoted as saying at a ceremony at the plant.
BMW (IW 1000/37) is launching production at the facility of the X4 model and announced it would also build the X7 at the plant. It also has plans to build a plug-in hybrid X5 at the factory.
Reithofer said BMW's manufacturing of the large X7 model at Spartanburg for world markets is "once again underscoring our commitment to the U.S."
The company already produces the X3, X5, X5 M, X6 and X6 M models in Spartanburg.
The expansion means an additional 800 jobs, taking employment to 8,000 at the plant.
"It will also make Spartanburg the largest plant in terms of production capacity in our global production network," said Reithofer.
BMW cited U.S. Commerce Department data showing that the Spartanburg plant exports $7.5 billion in vehicles per year, making it the largest vehicle exporter to non-NAFTA countries in the United States.
Since it opened in 1994, the Spartanburg plant has built more than 2.6 million vehicles, BMW said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014