BMW Hopes to Produce 300,000 SUVs and Crossovers at its U.S. Plant in 2012

#BMW, #X3

Last year, more than 270,000 vehicles were built at BMW’s assembly plant in America. This year, BMW is predicting it will produce at least 300,000 crossovers and SUVs thanks to added demanded worldwide.

According to Automotive News, Ludwig Willisch, CEO of BMW of North America predicts its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant will build at least 300,000 vehicles this year, which is 8.7 percent more than the 276,065 produced in 2011. Willisch points to increased demand of the BMW X3, X5, and X6 SUVs, all of which are built in Spartanburg. About 70 percent of those vehicles are exported.

"The market is so bullish, we could sell more than originally anticipated," Willisch told the Automotive News during the National Automobile Dealers Association's annual convention in Las Vegas on Feb. 5. "Clearly, the demand is there."

The plant is also preparing to build the upcoming BMW X4, which is expected to go on sale by 2014. BMW last month announced it's spending $900 million on upgrades to the plant. Once the upgrades are completed in about three years, production is predicted to reach 350,000 units along with 300 added jobs.

Some analysts, however, disagree with BMW’s forecast including IHS Automotive, which actually sees production dropping to 260,000 this year.

"They're probably looking at a little bit stronger U.S. sales than what we have," said Tracy Handler, an IHS analyst. "We had good momentum the first month of the year, but we're still pretty cautious on what's going to happen and if anything happens in Greece and in Europe and how that would affect us here."

Source: Automotive News (sub. required)

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