BMW Ramps Up U.S. Plant Output

Says U.S. will remain 'the world's largest premium market for the foreseeable future'

BMW said on Oct. 13 that it would hire 600 more workers by the end of the year for its plant in South Carolina, bringing the total staff to 7,600 workers as it ramps up U.S. output.

BMW said in March 2008 that it planned to hire 500 more people by 2012, on top of its staff of 5,400 then as part of investments worth $750 million in the site, which first opened in 1994.

The investment has in fact been made more quickly and will allow BMW to raise production of its X3 sports utility vehicle by 50% to 240,000 vehicles in 2011, the world leading premium car maker said.

BMW, which has sold more than 157,000 vehicles in the United States this year and wants to remain the leading European luxury carmaker in that market, noted that it had also invested $250 million to develop its headquarters in New Jersey and create two new regional distribution centers.

"The U.S. will remain the world's largest premium market for the foreseeable future and we intend to participate in the expected growth with the expansion of our activities here," CEO Norbert Reithofer was quoted as saying.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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