BMW has incredible brand awareness in the UK and Europe.
The company enjoy bumper sales in Germany and the UK, the two largest car markets in Europe, but the luxury carmaker wants to extend its reach over to the US, and is eyeing a production hike to beat its 2013 United States sales record.
As reported by Reuters, BMW is extending its Spartanburg plant in South Carolina so that it can produce 350,000 vehicles per year versus the 300,000 2013 capacity. Currently, this plant produces BMW’s SUV’s, such as the X1, X3, X5, and X6. With the greater capacity, BMW will be able to take on more orders, and reduce the waiting time for new customers.
The plant extension is also likely to see the BMW i3 be produced there in greater numbers, and there is rumour of a new X7 being produced there, although BMW has kept quiet about this.
“The U.S. will stay a market with great potential for us. This is why we are evaluating the possibility of increasing capacity in the U.S.”, Chief Executive Norbert Reithofer said at the company’s annual results press conference on Wednesday.
In other news, BMW have made plans to extend their production plants in China. This will allow the company to raise production capacity there to 400,000 cars annually, versus 300,000 in 2013.
As a result of the announcements, BMW shares were up 6.8% on March 19th. “We expect group profit before tax to rise significantly in the current year, despite ongoing volatile business conditions.” Reithofer said.
BMW USA sales were up 3.3% in February, with a total of 22,017 brand vehicles sold compared to 21,311 the year before. However, the BMW Group reported a 4.4% decline in sales year-to-date.
BMW is increasingly looking toward alternative power for its future vehicles. The company only last year launched the fantastic BMW i3, an all-electric car that is also available with a range extender. Not long from now, BMW will also launch the i8, an electric sports car made from carbon fibre with an initial production run of 1,000.
Carbon fibre is expected to be the main building component of all BMW cars by 2020. The next-generation Z4, for example, is expected to be at least 50% carbon fibre.