SLEEK, SPORTY CARS ROLLING OFF THE ASSEMBLY LINE IN SOUTH CAROLINA
The Palmetto State is revving its engine: Some of the hottest cars of 2019 are being manufactured in South Carolina, helping the state cement its status as the king of the road. Climb behind the wheel of a new BMW X4 or a buckle up in a Volvo S60 and you’ll find yourself hitting the highway in a car made just miles from the Lowcountry.
The first iteration of the BMW X4 launched in April 2014. Since then, more than 200,000 of the cars have been built, all at the Spartanburg plant. The second-generation X4 has been in production since April 2018 and is sold in nearly 140 countries.
At the Spartanburg plant, which is approximately 7 million square feet in size, more than 10,000 workers build and support production of three other BMW X models, in addition to the X4: the X3, X5 and X6. Later this year, BMW will add a fifth model to the Spartanburg plant’s portfolio — the first-ever X7, the largest and most luxurious BMW X model with three rows of seats.
“The second-generation BMW X4 is one of the four popular models at our plant that customers really enjoy,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “The X4 has a distinctive design that appeals to customers who want to stand out from the crowd. This is evident with the wider stance, the vehicle’s new coupe-like form, and its dynamic driving performance. We’ve received positive feedback from journalists across the world at our recent international press launch and test drive of the new X4.”
The X4’s ties to South Carolina run even deeper than just its production: Many of the state’s 45 automotive suppliers produce parts for the X4, putting a new spin on “Made in South Carolina.”
The S60 model is the only Volvo manufactured at the company’s plant in Ridgeville — which also happens to be its first manufacturing plant in the U.S. About 95 percent of the plant’s 1,000 employees are South Carolina natives, and when Volvo moves production of the next-generation XC90 to Ridgeville in 2021, even more jobs will be added for area residents — up to as many as 3,900 total jobs over the next five years.
Of the S60’s direct parts, 35 percent come from suppliers in South Carolina. When the Ridgeville facility begins work on the XC90, Volvo officials say that number will increase significantly.
“We’re proud to build the all new S60 mid-size sport sedan in Ridgeville,” said Jeff Moore, Volvo’s vice president of manufacturing in the Americas. “This is Volvo Cars’ first American-built car, and we’re confident our customers will appreciate the Scandinavian design, luxury and performance.”