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Old 09-22-2009, 04:59 AM   #1
BMW to ramp up production at Spartanburg plant
The Other Tom
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BMW to add shift in Greer as demand grows

By Rudolph Bell Staff Writer September 22, 2009

BMW said Monday it will add another shift at its local plant next month in the first sign of a turnaround since a sudden plunge in auto sales last year led to the layoff of 1,000 contract workers.

Bobby Hitt, spokesman for BMW Manufacturing Co. near Greer, said the decision to expand the number of 10-hour shifts from eight to nine was prompted by stronger global demand for the X5 and X6 vehicles made at the plant for worldwide sale.

The change is unrelated to BMW's previously announced plans to make the X3 model on a new assembly line at the plant, Hitt said. He said production isn't scheduled to begin until next year.

Hitt said executives haven't decided whether to hire more workers to meet the growing demand for the X5 and X6.

"Whether or not we will need to hire any more people in the short term or long term, we're still analyzing that," he said. "We'll make an announcement as soon as we can make that determination."

If executives do decide to boost the work force, they are likely to turn first to the contract workers dismissed at the end of last year, Hitt said.

Factories around the Upstate that make car parts for the plant are also affected by the extra shift, Hitt said.

BMW operated 11 ten-hour shifts at the plant last year, but dropped to eight this year in reaction to the sudden onset of the worldwide credit crisis and related plunge in auto sales.

In Europe, a member of the BMW AG board told the German weekly, Automobilwoche, that demand for the X5 and X6 was higher than output, The Associated Press reported.

Frank-Peter Arndt, the board member responsible for manufacturing, said that especially in China demand for the vehicles was "extremely good," according to the AP.

About 70 percent of the plant's product is exported to various markets around the world, including China.

Even after dismissal of the 1,000 contract workers, the plant still employs more than 5,000 people, including some contract workers.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:58 AM
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Mein Auto: 2008 X6 xDrive3.5
Wow, I did not realize the X5/6 sales were so strong.

I suspect the X5 diesel is doing well.
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