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Statements by Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, and Knudt Flor, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co, 25 years of BMW Group Plant Spartanburg and the new BMW X3
Statements by Harald Krüger and Knudt Flor, 25 years of BMW Group Plant Spartanburg
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Knudt Flor, President and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co
Good morning and welcome to BMW Plant Spartanburg!
Each and every one of you here today is important to the United States, the state of South Carolina and to Plant Spartanburg, so I would like to begin by taking a moment to recognize all elected officials. Please be kind enough to stand for us so you may be acknowledged. On behalf of the BMW Group, I would like to thank you for twenty-five years of continued support and personal commitment to this plant’s success. Thank you!
Governor McMaster, thank you for your continued efforts in promoting this partnership, as many governors – especially the late Governor Carroll Campbell - before you have done. We’d also like to say a special “thank you” to Bobby Hitt, the Secretary of Commerce, who has been instrumental in the tremendous growth of Plant Spartanburg.
From the BMW Group, I would like to introduce Mr. Harald Krueger, Chairman of the Board of Management, and Mr. Oliver Zipse, Member of the Board of Management, responsible for Production worldwide. We welcome the national and international press, as we celebrate 25 Years Spartanburg and the All-New BMW X3!
Also, please join me in welcoming our valued dealers and suppliers from the U.S., our managers from Munich, and last, but certainly not least, I am delighted to welcome all of our associates here on site - the heart and soul of Plant Spartanburg!
25 years ago, our company reached an historic agreement with local government to build our first U.S. BMW plant in the great state of South Carolina. It was the start of something very special - a wonderful friendship and a new beginning. As BMW’s Chairman, Mr. Eberhard von Kuenheim stated back in 1992: “Seldom in the history of our company, has a community extended such a warm welcome to us as here in Spartanburg, in the state of South Carolina, USA. We have felt at home here from the first day on.”
In 1994, Spartanburg began operations with 570 associates, under the motto of “Welcome to the Future”. Today, we are proud to have over 9,000 associates here! Spartanburg has grown to become the largest plant in the BMW Group’s worldwide production network. That, in itself, is a very strong statement about our commitment to South Carolina and to the U.S.
It is our global competence center for our very successful BMW X vehicles. Currently, the plant produces X3, X4, X5 and X6 models, as well as M and hybrid variants. We are looking forward to starting production of the BMW X7 in late 2018. Today, we are delighted to give you an exclusive world premiere of the All-New BMW X3. The BMW X3 is without a doubt, the best vehicle in its segment. More on that shortly!
Of course, the success story of Plant Spartanburg wouldn’t have been possible without people. People have made and continue to make the difference.
We are proud of the people who work here – they are highly skilled and dedicated to building premium quality vehicles for our customers. I am proud to be the leader of such an incredible team at such a remarkable time. World class products are built here every single day. It’s thanks to you, our associates that BMW feels very much at home here in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
We are honored to have so many friends here and immensely proud to call South Carolina “our home away from home”. It is our goal, and our commitment, to remain a strong and reliable partner for our associates, our customers, South Carolina, and the United States.
Of course, a picture is worth a thousand words – here’s a film to remind us of a few highlights from the past 25 years.
Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG
It’s great to be back in Plant Spartanburg again!
The film we just saw underscores the BMW Group’s strong commitment
- to the United States of America,
- to South Carolina,
- and to all our associates and partners here in the U.S.
All of this shows that the U.S. is clearly our home away from home.
We are proud to be responsible for around 70,000 jobs in this great nation – including dealer network and suppliers. The effect of that employment multiplies to a total of more than 120,000 jobs nationwide. This is according to a new study from the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina. Furthermore, our purchasing volume in America is now at 5.7 billion US dollars.
25 years ago, we made a crucial and forward looking decision. We decided to build our first full production plant outside of Germany in the U.S. – right here, in South Carolina. The BMW Group’s success in America would not be possible without the open arms and warm hearts of the people and elected officials in the great state of South Carolina and the surrounding region.
Senator Graham, it is an honor to have you with us here today. We greatly appreciate your ongoing support over the years.
Our relationship with South Carolina has been built upon decades of mutual trust and respect – and goes far beyond just building cars. Governor McMaster, as you have kindly said – we have become part of the very fabric of this great state. And David Britt, we were deeply touched by your words when you said: “BMW is the gift that keeps on giving”.
I am extremely proud of the highly skilled people who work here for the BMW Group. Their passion for excellence ensures that BMW vehicles built in the U.S. excite and inspire customers all over the world. Some of my fondest memories are from my time here at the plant as a manager. Since then, one thing has never changed – the unique spirit that makes BMW Plant Spartanburg so special: It’s all about People, Performance, Passion and Pride.
Today, I would like to thank all of our associates here, at Plant Spartanburg, for their strong commitment. You bring this plant to life – with your work, every single day. Thank you for your outstanding dedication! I am sure you all would agree that our associates deserve a round of applause.
World-class people build world-class products. Today, Spartanburg is our largest plant worldwide. It is the global competence center for our X family vehicles, including the BMW X3. The BMW X3 is the most successful vehicle in its segment worldwide. Today, we are very proud to present you the third generation – “Built by BMW in the U.S. for the world”!
About 70% of our production from Spartanburg is exported to more than 140 countries. Thanks to our great, hardworking team here in the U.S., BMW was once again the leading U.S. automotive exporter by value in 2016 - a title we hold with pride.
Free trade has made our joint success story in South Carolina and the U.S. possible. A story, we want to continue, together with all of you. I firmly believe in free trade and open markets. It is essential for global businesses and economies around the world to flourish.
Altogether, the BMW Group has invested eight billion US dollars in Plant Spartanburg to date. I am delighted to say, we are investing a further 600 million US dollars in our manufacturing infrastructure here, up to 2021. This is for future generations of our X models. In the next four years, we will also create 1,000 new jobs, taking our workforce here to over 10,000.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Training and qualifying our associates is key to our future success. We believe in education! That’s why the BMW Group will invest $200 million over the next five years – solely for the training and further education of associates at Spartanburg. In addition to this, we will begin to roll out a nationwide training program. We work together with local universities and colleges to offer a combination of training on the job and earning a degree. We will keep investing in our people and in our business in the U.S. This underscores our enduring commitment to the people of this great state and nation.
Therefore, I remain confident: Our footprint and commitment will continue to grow – not only in the Great State of South Carolina but also in the United States in the years to come.
(Unveiling of new BMW X3)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The new BMW X3!
I can tell you, it’s really amazing to drive. Over two generations, the BMW X3 has been delivered to more than 1.5 million customers worldwide. I’m certain: This new generation will raise the bar even higher! Thanks to the team in Spartanburg for your great contribution. “Built by BMW in the U.S. for the world”!
Governor McMaster, Senator Graham, Ambassador Wittig, Oliver, Knudt, dear Associates – please come and join me on stage.