Message from Secretary Hitt: Celebrating a manufacturing milestone

In 1994, when the first BMW produced in North America - a 318i - rolled off the company's assembly line in Spartanburg County, South Carolina's economic landscape was transformed. By establishing its first full manufacturing facility outside of Germany in the Upstate, BMW gave our state instant credibility. 

Now, 25 years, 4.75 million vehicles and more than $10 billion in investment later, BMW Plant Spartanburg is the company's largest production facility in the world. The plant employs more than 11,000 people who build 1,500 BMWs every day. 

BMW's success changed the entire mindset of South Carolina, as it proved to the world that we have the workforce necessary to produce complex, highly-advanced products. Its presence has driven the dramatic growth of our automotive sector, which now includes more than 400 automotive-related businesses. 

To celebrate 25 years of production, BMW welcomed Governor McMaster, state officials, dignitaries and longtime employees to a special ceremony marking the significant impact of the plant. Front-and-center at the anniversary event was that very first vehicle manufactured at the facility, which features the signatures of all the employees who worked at the plant at the time. Many of those employees were in attendance at the celebration, proudly showing visitors their signatures on the car. 

To conclude the ceremony, BMW unveiled a red, white and blue commemorative X7 that displayed 25-year totals for vehicles produced, vehicles exported, investment and number of jobs.

More than just a major economic driver, BMW's Upstate operations -- and the success of those operations -- have helped South Carolina become a true brand state. So, as we commemorate this manufacturing milestone, we recognize and thank BMW for its commitment to S.C. and look forward to the company's continued growth in the years to come.

BMW 25 group shot

BMW employees pose with a commemorative X7 celebrating 25 years of production.

BMW first car

The very first vehicle to roll off the BMW Plant Spartanburg Assembly line.