Recent rumors have suggested that BMW was looking to build a production facility in Mexico. The German automaker has now confirmed those rumors to be true. BMW is building a new production plant just outside of the city of San Luis Potosí, Mexico for the North American market.
“Mexico is an ideal location for the BMW Group and will be another important plant within our production network,” said Harald Krueger, member of the BMW AG Board of Management, responsible for Production, in a release.
Over the next few years, BMW will invest approximately $1 billion building the new plant, which is expected to begin producing vehicles in 2019. Initially, the plant is expected to create around 1500 jobs. Later, more jobs at the plant and in the surrounding area are expected to follow. While the San Luis Potosí plant will have a planned capacity of 150,000 units per year, BMW hasn’t revealed which models will be built there. An earlier report suggested the automaker could build 1 Series, 3 Series, and even some Mini models in Mexico.
“This decision underscores our commitment to the NAFTA region. We have been building BMW cars at our US plant in Spartanburg for the past 20 years,” said Krueger. “The Americas are among the most important growth markets for the BMW Group. We are continuing our strategy of ‘production follows the market.'”
BMW joins other automakers that have invested in future or existing production sites in Mexico, including Audi, Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, and Mazda.
In May, BMW announced an additional $200 million investment in Moses Lake, Wash.-based carbon fiber supplier SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers, where the automaker sources carbon fiber for the i3 and i8 EVs. That investment will add 120 jobs to the 80 existing jobs at the facility. BMW also announced an investment of close to $1 billion to expand its Spartanburg, S.C. plant to build the new X4 SUV. A three-row X7 was also confirmed for production at Spartanburg. Annual production at that plant will expand to 450,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2016 making Spartanburg the automaker’s largest production facility.
BMW plans to invest $2.2 billion in the NAFTA region between now and 2019. A production plant currently under construction in Santa Catarina, Brazil is expected to go online by the end of this year.