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Analysis: A Look at the Top US Auto Exporting Factory

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Feb. 16, 2018—The BMW plant in Spartanburg County in South Carolina continued to be the biggest vehicle exporter by value from the U.S. in 2017, according to statistics released this week.

However, a report by the Greenville (S.C.) News also noted that a nearly 10 percent decline in production at the South Carolina plant in 2017 also correlated with a significant year-over-year decline in business with the Port of Charleston.

Last year BMW sent 237,000 X models through the Port of Charleston, which added up to $8.76 billion in export value, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. BMW said that figure confirms that the South Carolina factory is the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value. In 2016, that number had reached $9.53 billion.

Steve Wilson, a company spokesman for BMW Manufacturing, said the company remains positive about 2018, and pointed to plant upgrades last year as factors in the production and related export declines.

"First, we introduced a new BMW X3 in August," Wilson wrote in an email to the Greenville News."With new models, you slowly ramp-up to ensure quality production. In addition, our X5/X6 assembly hall was shut down for four weeks during the summer while new tooling and conveyors were installed. No X5 or X6 models were built during this time."

"Plant Spartanburg will be a major contributor [in 2018]. … There is plenty to be excited about at BMW.”


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