BMW to begin delivering next-gen SUVs made in South Carolina

Staff Report
colanews@scbiznews.com
Published Feb. 12, 2014

GREER, S.C. — BMW plans to begin selling its redesigned X3 sports activity vehicle for the 2015 model year starting this spring. The vehicle is manufactured solely at the automaker’s Spartanburg County assembly plant.

BMW introduced the mid-sized SUV segment with the launch of the original BMW X3 in 2003. The third-generation vehicle, which is solely manufactured in South Carolina, has introduced a design makeover and a diesel-engine option. (Photo provided by BMW)
BMW introduced the midsized SUV segment with the launch of the original BMW X3 in 2003. The third-generation vehicle, which is solely manufactured in South Carolina, has introduced a design makeover and a diesel-engine option. (Photo provided by BMW)

In 2003, BMW founded the midsized SUV segment with the launch of the original BMW X3. The second-generation X3 was introduced in 2010.

The new model is offering diesel power as the company works to build on its strong position in the clean-diesel market in the U.S. An optional rear-wheel drive model also will available for the U.S. market.

BMW and Germany-based competitors Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz boosted their U.S. sales of light trucks in 2013 by 5%, to around 1.33 million units, representing growth of about 75% over 2009 levels.

“Over this period we have grown much faster than the market itself,” said Matthias Wissmann, president of the German car manufacturers’ trade group Verband der Automobilindustrie.

Wissmann, who spoke during a news conference at last month’s 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, said his optimism about 2014 was based on the group’s assessment of both the U.S. economy and the German manufacturers’ role in it, including high-end vehicle sales.

“The American market is really back, and general economic data remains positive,” Wissmann said. “And the premium-car segment is growing, which fortunately we dominate.”

BMW’s introduction of the diesel-powered X3 aims to build on the Germans’ dominance of the growing clean-diesel market in the United States, which grew by nearly 13% last year compared with 2012.

“We have always pointed out that the diesel offensive would be a long haul in the United States,” Wissmann said. “The slight rise in the diesel share of the light vehicle market to 2.8% indicates we are on the right track.”

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