Recently, it was reported that BMW will launch a new model—the large SUV named X7. The development of the three-row vehicle was mere speculation until Friday, when the German automaker finally confirmed the latest addition to their lineup.
On March 28th, BMW Group Chairman of the Board of Management Dr. Norbert Reithofer confirmed that the company will be investing $1 billion in its plant at Spartanburg, South Carolina.
“We will expand the plant’s annual production capacity by 50% up to 450,000 vehicles by the end of 2016. Today’s capacity is around 300,000 vehicles. This investment will also create an additional 800 jobs, increasing the total workforce to 8,800 on site,” he said.
The Spartanburg plant, which opened in 1994, will become BMW’s biggest factory. Last year, the plant manufactured a total of 297,326 vehicles. It currently builds 1,100 vehicles per working day.
The substantial investment will be spent on increasing the plant’s current capacity in order to meet strong demand of BMW vehicles, particularly the X models.
“Plant Spartanburg was built to enhance and expand the BMW line-up, underscoring the BMW Group commitment to the United States,” said Reithofer. “In addition to the X3, X5, X6, and the new X4, we are today announcing another all-new, larger X model to be manufactured exclusively at this plant for our world markets: the X7.”
“I have been asked many times: Why don’t you offer a BMW X model beyond the BMW X5? And today, I’m happy to provide the answer to that question,” said Reithofer.
“We have decided to develop and build a totally new X model – the new BMW X7. I promise this SAV will also be highly fuel efficient while offering outstanding driving performance. It will be a true BMW,” he promised.
The Munich-based luxury carmaker did not provide any other details about the vehicle, but car enthusiasts already have expectations with the brand’s latest addition.
The X7 is believed to be BMW’s bet against the Range Rover and the Mercedes-Benz GL. The vehicle will be the manufacturer’s biggest SUV, though it is better classified as a large crossover. Because it will have three rows that seats up to seven people, the vehicle will have a longer wheelbase as well as longer rear overhang.
The four-wheel drive X7 is expected to be sold with BMW’s range of inline six-cylinder and V8 engines, which are currently used in the X5 and X6 models. Also, it may feature a modified platform structure, similar to the architecture that underpins the current third-generation X5 and the second-generation X6 that is coming soon.
Harald Krüger, BMW’s Board of Management member for Production, stressed the importance of the Spartanburg plant in the company’s global operations.
“Our US plant is the best example of our successful strategy of ‘production follows the market’. The state of South Carolina has supported us as a valuable and reliable partner throughout our 20-year involvement in the region – making the United States our second home.”
According to Reuters, the United States is the second largest national market of BMW. The U.S. accounted for 19 percent of group sales in 2013. It follows China with 20 percent of sales and finishes ahead of BMW’s home country Germany, which has 13 percent.
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