SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – BMW unveiled a new study that gives a deeper look into its economic impact in South Carolina and Spartanburg County. The study shows nearly 43,000 jobs across the state are supported by Plant Spartanburg.
When it comes to BMW, state leaders said they immediately think of June 1992.
“It was shocking to the country and maybe even to our state,” said Harry Lightsey, South Carolina Secretary of Commerce.
This was the beginning of what would turn into a transformation of South Carolina’s manufacturing industry. Now, over 30 years later, BMW is not just reflecting on their success, but they’re still working.
BMW recently announced a $1.7 billion investment in electric vehicles and a new battery assembly facility in Woodruff.
“BMW is focused on the future as South Carolina needs to be more generally as we see an uptick in the demand globally for electric vehicles,” said Joseph Von Nessen, a research economist.
With such a large presence comes an even larger impact. For every 10 jobs created at Plant Spartanburg, another 25 are created elsewhere in the state. This is more than twice the average industry multiplier in South Carolina. BMW said they continue to choose Spartanburg County as their home base because of who they work alongside.
“It’s not falling from the sky,” said Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing. “I think for being successful in the automotive industry we need skilled people and as we demonstrated, we opened our training center and we have a close contact with our technical colleges and universities and all that leverages the skills of our people.”
Plant Spartanburg utilizes more than 500 South Carolina suppliers, with nearly 90 percent of those being in the Upstate. A global organization like BMW working with the state in this kind of way has allowed South Carolina to flourish.
“We have 75,000 South Carolinians that work in the automotive industry one way or another and the industry itself is undergoing the greatest transformation that it has had since Henry Ford, as it shifts from gasoline combustion to the battery electric vehicle of the future,” said Lightsey.
The annual economic impact of Plant Spartanburg on South Carolina totals to approximately $26.7 billion.