We’re seeing how the small luxury crossover market continues to expand, but it now appears that the large three-row luxury SUV market will also host at least one new player in the near future. According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, BMW will expand production at its Spartanburg, South Carolina factory in order to build a large luxury SUV called the BMW X7.
Our previous projections pinned the BMW X7 for arrival in 2018, which if correct, would mean it will directly challenge the next-gen Mercedes-Benz GL also slotted for that year. The BMW X7 will most likely ride on an adjusted version of the platform underpinning the next-gen X5 and X6.
It’s also possible that a large super-luxury Rolls Royce SUV could be born out of the same architecture, which would square up directly against a production version of the Aston Martin Lagonda concept. If rumors are true that there is a marriage in the works between Mercedes and Aston Martin, the Lagonda would presumably be built on the next-gen GL’s platform, codenamed X167.
On March 28 BMW will reportedly announce that it will add a third body shop to its Spartanburg facility, helping it boost production capacity to 400,000 vehicles a year. The expansion will constitute a 33 percent growth over the current 300,000 annual units produced, as BMW looks to maintain its spot as the leading brand in luxury automobile sales. Next up for arrival in the U.S. is the 2015 BMW X4 (a coupe-like X3), which will also be built in Spartanburg.
“Spartanburg is our world-wide competence center for the X-models,” BMW global production chief Harald Krüger told The Wall Street Journal.
With future vehicles like the BMW X7, BMW is doing all it can to fend off would-be luxury sales leaders, which include Volkswagen’s Audi. Audi is set to debut its own next-gen three-row SUV, the Q7, by the end of 2014. Construction of Audi’s San Jose Chiapas, Mexico plant is already underway, where it will build the next-gen Audi Q5.