SPARTANBURG, South Carolina - BMW will build a sport wagon at its US plant here after a $600 million factory expansion.
While the industry was generally aware of BMW's plans, the scope of the project was kept hidden from the public to delay the flood of job seekers that would result. About 1,000 new jobs will be created.
Until the announcement, BMW had talked about a $200 million investment and 400-500 new jobs.
Spokesman Carl Flesher said BMW chose to keep quiet on the full scale of the work in progress because adding 1,000 jobs is a major economic event in South Carolina, expected to draw 20,000 applicants. BMW currently employs 2,000 people here.
Hiring will begin in January 1999. The expansion may change the plans of the United Auto Workers to try to organize here. UAW President Steve Yokich said the UAW intended to work with the German labor union IG Metall this summer to organize the BMW plant and the Daimler-Benz plant in Alabama.
BMW's sport activity vehicle - built on a car platform - will debut in 1999. BMW has not announced production goals. It will be built only in South Carolina.
Expansion began in mid-1997. BMW will add a second production line, a second body shop, a 5,400-square-meter engineering analysis center, an expanded test track and additional tooling.
The plant's 108,000 square meters will reach 189,000 square meters, and its original $600 million investment will increase to $1.2 billion.