BMW Manufacturing Co., has manufactured its one millionth car, 12 years after the first car rolled off the production line.
The millionth vehicle, which came off the line on February 28, 2006, is a Z4 M Roadster in Interlagos Blue with a Champagne Leather individual interior, custom Ash-Walnut wood trim, 18-inch alloy wheels and an engine that takes the vehicle from 0-60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Due to its historical significance to BMW and the South Carolina factory, the roadster will remain at the factory in the Zentrum museum as part of the BMW Mobile Tradition Collection.
This year also marks the 10th anniversary of roadster production. BMW was the first automaker to reintroduce a luxury roadster to the public with the Z3 Roadster in 1996. The Z4 Roadster, the first next-generation vehicle launched at the Spartanburg plant, began production in October 2002 and the 100,000th Z4 was built in November 2004.
The updated Z4 Roadster and the new Z4 M Roadster, the latest additions to the roadster family, were showcased at the Chicago Auto Show last month. Production of the updated Z4 Roadster began in January. Production of the all-new Z4 M Roadster, Z4 Coupe and M Coupe will begin this spring.
The Upstate plant has also undergone various expansions and restructurings since opening in July 1994.
1996 Added 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Body and Assembly areas.
1998 Expanded Body and Assembly areas to build the X5 Sports Activity Vehicle, increasing the square footage of the factory from 1.2 million square feet to 2.1 million square feet and adding approximately 1,000 workers.
2000 Constructed a new 189,000-square-foot shop for the Z4 Roadster, completed a 90,000-square-foot automated warehouse/sequencing center, an 18,000-square-foot Information Technology Center to house communications and data services systems and a 60,000-square-foot Performance Center that offers driving experiences and schools for enthusiasts of all levels and abilities, all adjacent to the plant.
2005 Completed the BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC), dedicated to the research of advanced automobile information technology on the Clemson University ICAR campus, refurbished the former TNS Mill into a logistics center, constructed a Process Development Center, which links BMW with its North American suppliers, and provides pre-production evaluation of supplier components for U.S.-made BMW vehicles.
2006 Demolished the two-line assembly system and converted it to a single-line system, which allows for additional flexibility to handle seasonal fluctuation of models, as well as the introduction of new models to markets in a shorter lead time, and constructed a new high-speed manufacturing testing facility.
Employment has grown steadily at BMW Manufacturing. When BMW announced in 1992 that it would locate its first U.S. factory in Upstate South Carolina, the company pledged to employ 2,000 associates by the year 2000. BMW employed 3,000 associates by year 2000 and today about 4,500 associates work at the plant.
Vehicle production has also increased to meet growing customer demand. Production grew from 51,878 units in 1999 to 166,090 in 2003.
BMW Manufacturing Co. is a subsidiary of BMW AG in Munich, Germany. In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW’s North American subsidiaries include sales, marketing and financial services operations in the United States, Canada and throughout Latin America; an information technology consulting and systems integration firm in South Carolina; and a design firm in California.