There’s a whole bunch of BMW news today, so we’re gonna start with the most important for us enthusiasts: BMW has announced a new line of M-empowered vehicles called the M Performance Automobiles. Think of them as BMW M Lite.
Sliding in between the traditional hard-assed M cars and the ordinary BMW range, M Performance vehicles promise “enhanced agility” and “exclusive engine variants.” How does that differ from the likes of the M3 and the M5? Well, M Performance cars will offer all-wheel-drive and both gasoline and diesel powerplants. Presumably, that means BMW’s mysterious diesel X6 will be one of the first M Performance models off the line.
BMW promises the M Performance line will include “a wide variety of model series;” apart from the aforementioned diesel X6 and the oft-rumored diesel 5 Series, we wouldn’t be surprised to see the replacements for the 335is and Z4 sDrive35s get promoted to M Performance trim. If they do a highperformance diesel X6, than a high-performance diesel X5 seems a likely bet. And if we’re lucky, maybe we’ll even get an M Performance 7 Series to make up for our lack of an M7.
(BMW also mentioned than 2012 would see the arrival of the new M6, a development that shouldn’t surprise anyone. No word on manual transmission options yet.)
The second piece of news is less substantive, but reassuring in its own way: BMW is bringing back their old advertising tagline, “The Ultimate Driving Machine.” It’s an interesting piece of news, because BMW began downplaying the line right around the time their fun-to-drive mojo was sinking to new lows while they concentrated on Bangle butts and iDrive. We’re hoping this means BMW will be working a little harder to engineer some of that old magic into their cars, but if nothing else, at least it’ll result in some good ads:
Finally, BMW has announced they’re investing almost $900 million in their Spartanburg, South Carolina assembly plant, allowing the factory to raise production from its current output of 275,000 vehicles annually to around 350,000 cars per year. As of now, the plant serves as sole assembly point for the world’s X3s, X5s and X6s, but BMW used the announcement to inform the world that they’d soon be building X4s at the plant as well. And in case you’re wondering, yes, X4 is to X3 as X6 is to X5. [via BMW, NY Times]
M genes as standard: the BMW M Performance Automobiles.
Munich. In spring 2012, BMW M GmbH will unveil a new product range for drivers seeking a particularly sporty driving experience, yet who also value the familiar comfort and practicality of BMW models. The BMW M Performance Automobiles offer exclusive engine variants, noticeably enhanced agility and outstanding precision on the road, plus design laced with emotional appeal. The harmonious interplay of engine output, power transfer, chassis technology and aerodynamic balance provides a captivating showcase for the familiar M genes – in day-to-day driving and beyond. The BMW M Performance Automobiles will be presented to the global public for the first time at the International Geneva Motor Show 2012 which takes place from 8 – 18 March.
The BMW M Performance Automobiles represent a totally new model category none of its rivals can offer. Only the high-performance sports cars from BMW M GmbH provide a more convincing execution of an overall concept focused on inspirational driving dynamics. “We are targeting our efforts at customers looking for more emotionality and more performance, but who don’t want to forgo the everyday usability of their cars,” said Dr Friedrich Nitschke, President of BMW M GmbH. Nitschke announced plans for further additions to the new product line-up, referring to “a range including a wide variety of model series, as well as both petrol and diesel-engined variants”. The intelligent all-wheel-drive system BMW xDrive would also play a significant role in the BMW M Performance Automobiles, he added.
2011 will go down as one of the most successful years for BMW M GmbH since the company was founded. In addition to the BMW 1 Series M Coupe, which marked BMW M GmbH’s first ever foray into the premium compact segment, last year also saw the successful introduction of the new BMW M5. The imminent arrival of the BMW M Performance Automobiles provides 2012 – which will also feature the world premiere of the new BMW M6, among others – with an early highlight.
“The BMW M Performance Automobiles benefit from the full expertise of BMW M GmbH,” explained Nitschke. The BMW Group subsidiary can call on decades of motor sport experience when it comes to translating outstanding engine power into excellent dynamics. This development expertise also imbues the BMW M Performance Automobiles with their distinctive character.
The models in the new product category follow in the tyre tracks of the BMW M535i, which was unveiled in 1980 and went on to capture the hearts of performance-minded customers with its extra power, precisely tuned chassis technology and subtly modified design. A fresh addition to the BMW 5 Series ranks, the Sedan remained a highly successful member of the line-up through two model generations and – up to 1987 – with the BMW M5 for company within the range. “Our aim with the BMW M Performance Automobiles is to continue this tradition,” confirmed Nitschke.
BMW Announces Nearly $900 Million Investment, Adding 300 jobs at its South Carolina Plant in 2012
Celebrates 2,000,000 vehicles produced in U.S.
Spartanburg, S.C. – January 12, 2012… BMW announced today that the company will invest nearly $900 Million USD and add 300 new jobs in 2012 in its South Carolina plant. This announcement was made during a ceremony to commemorate a major production milestone – 2,000,000 vehicles have rolled off the assembly line since the company began U.S. production in 1994.
Frank-Peter Arndt, BMW Group Board Member responsible for Production, revealed the company’s intention to expand its X-model family. He revealed that production of the new BMW X4 will occur at the Spartanburg plant, spurring significant investment and job creation necessary to prepare the facility for the new model.
“I am delighted to announce today, over the next three years, we plan to invest nearly $900 Million U.S. dollars. With this investment, we will be able to produce 350,000 units here in the mid-term,” said Arndt. “This is one reaction to the rising global demand for our BMW X Models.”
Governor Nikki Haley spoke at the ceremony saying, “BMW has once again provided tremendous evidence that South Carolina is a blueprint for significant economic development success. The partnership between this company and our State is an enduring example of how to attract, retain and grow business to stimulate perpetual job creation.”
“Two million vehicles have prepared our team well to meet the new opportunities that lie ahead for our plant. We look forward to a new model with great anticipation. For nearly 20 years, this team has always proven their steadfast commitment to producing quality vehicles for our customers around the world,” remarked Josef Kerscher, President of BMW Manufacturing.
“I am thrilled to celebrate the two millionth BMW today,” said Bobby Hitt, Secretary of Commerce for South Carolina. “BMW’s impact on South Carolina’s economy and overall competitiveness is always worth celebrating. This new economic investment and commitment of jobs is a testament to South Carolina’s strong automotive manufacturing industry.”
With the addition of 300 new jobs this year the plant will raise production capacities up to 300,000 units. By the end of the year, the plant will employ nearly 7,500 people at its more than 4.0 million square foot facility. Since the original 1992 decision to build BMW’s only U.S. plant in South Carolina, today’s announcement brings BMW Group’s total investment in the state to nearly $6 Billion U.S. dollars and represents its largest, single investment to date in its South Carolina plant.
In 2011, the plant produced 276,065 vehicles for over 130 markets around the world representing a 73% increase versus 2010. Seventy percent of the vehicles produced (192,813) were exported making BMW the largest automotive exporter to the non-NAFTA countries. Sales of the vehicles produced at the plant have met with continued high demand. According to Arndt, throughout the world, more that 117,000 X3’s were sold in 2011 representing a 156% growth of this vehicle versus its predecessor.
The 2 millionth vehicle to roll off the line in Spartanburg was a Vermillion Red Metallic X3 xDrive35i driven by BMW Associate Terry Gardner, a 16-year BMW veteran. The vehicle featured Oyster Nevada interior and an M Sport Package. Accompanying the driver, were associates: Renita Williams, Trung Phan and Olga Yurchenko. These associates represent teams from each of the plant’s manufacturing technologies: Body, Paint and Assembly.
While all vehicles are custom ordered prior to production, this symbolic vehicle will remain on display at the Spartanburg Plant to commemorate the milestone.
Also making remarks at the milestone event were German Ambassador to the United States Peter Ammon, United States Congressman Trey Gowdy and Spartanburg County Council Chairman Jeffrey Horton.
Since 1994, the plant has undergone four major expansions and produced 6 different BMW models and their variants (318i, Z3, Z4, X5, X6, X3). Employment has grown from 500 in 1994 to more than 7,000 today.
For additional details and to apply for the new positions, visit www.bmwusfactory.com.