BMW is once again the United States’ car export king… at least value-wise. The manufacturer exported 257,876 vehicles with a value of $10.1 billion last year. The company’s plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina exported X-model cars to nearly 120 countries, according to a release from BMW.
The top export countries were China (24.1 percent of the total), Germany (12.3 percent), South Korea (9.4 percent), Canada (5.6 percent) and Great Britain (5.4 percent). This was the eighth consecutive year the German manufacturer took the top spot here in the U.S. From the release:
“Claiming the top spot for U.S. automobile exports by value rounds out a very successful year for BMW Plant Spartanburg. I’m incredibly proud of our associates and the resilience they have shown the past year,” Dr. Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, said. “This achievement demonstrates BMW’s trusted partnership with this state and its continued commitment to the United States.”
All in all, the company built a record 433,810 BMW X vehicles in 2021. 179,840 of those cars were sold in the U.S. That’s 53.4 percent of all BMW sales, according to the company.
The top two vehicles sold in the U.S. aren’t exactly a surprise — the X3 and X5 have been staples of upper-middle class life in the U.S. since they were first introduced.
Making that many cars is quite a feat considering the global semiconductor chip shortage that has absolutely decimated the automotive manufacturing industry over the past year.
The Spartanburg plant won’t be resting on its laurels, though. Production of the new electric BMW XM is expected to start by the end of this year.
Since 1992, BMW has invested right around $12 billion in the South Carolina factory that can produce over 1,500 vehicles every day. At full tilt, the plant can build 450,000 cars a year and employs over 11,000 people.
There is, of course, some irony to the fact that America’s top vehicle manufacturer is a German company. Maybe one day that will change, but right now it’s not looking too likely.