Big at BMW
Quick—where is the highest volume plant of Bayerische Motoren Werke, more commonly known as “BMW,” located?
If you guessed somewhere in Germany or possibly China, you’d be wrong.
It is the BMW Manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
BMW Group announced this week that the plant, which specializes in the production of BMW X models, the SUVs, manufactured 411,171 units in 2016.
This breaks down as:
- X3 – 151,298
- X4 – 56,404
- X5 – 165,377
- X6 – 38,092
Of the vehicles produced in Spartanburg, 287,770, or about 70 percent, were exported. The factory ships vehicles to 140 countries around the world.
The plant is undergoing expansion to take on a fifth vehicle, the X7. A new 1.2-million square-foot body shop is being installed and equipped and the X5/X6 assembly facility is being expanded by 200,000 square feet.
The price tag for this expansion of the facility is on the order of $1-billion.
Since starting production in Spartanburg in 1994, more than 3.7-million vehicles have been built there.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
Generally, when OEMs produce aluminum engine blocks (aluminum rather than cast iron because cast iron weighs like cast iron), they insert sleeves into the piston bores—cast iron sleeves.
Although the term “continuous improvement” is generally associated with another company, Honda is certainly pursuing that approach, as is evidenced by the Accord, which is now in its ninth generation.