SOUTH CAROLINA — In 1994, South Carolina’s first auto plant began production at a 1.2 million-square-foot factory outside of Greer with howls of complaints that the Palmetto State had given away the farm, promising almost $150 million in incentives.
In September, BMW celebrates 25 years of making vehicles in what is now a 7 million-square-foot plant that employs 11,000. It’s BMW’s largest plant worldwide, making 1,400 X3 through X7 models each day.
Today, investment in the factory has topped $10 billion and the building continues. A fifth building for painting operations is under construction, adding $600 million to the investment that started in 1994.
Those complaints about S.C. corporate welfare to benefit a German automaker have quieted. A University of South Carolina study found that the sprawling Spartanburg County plant has had $16.6 billion in economic impact.
BMW Manufacturing Co. gave a tour to a Charlotte Business Journal writer and a photographer around both the massive plant and the technicians center this week as the factory prepared to celebrate a quarter century of building BMWs.
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