BMW in the United States
BMW cars have been officially sold in the United States since 1956 and manufactured in the United States since 1994. The first BMW dealership in the United States opened in 1975. In 2016, BMW was the twelfth highest selling brand in the United States.
The BMW manufacturing plant in Greer, South Carolina has the highest production volume of the BMW plants worldwide, currently producing approximately 1,500 vehicles per day. The models produced at the Spartanburg plant are the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 SUV models.
In addition to the South Carolina manufacturing facility, BMW's North American companies include sales, marketing, design, and financial services operations in the United States, Mexico, Canada and Latin America.
Spartanburg manufacturing plant
The BMW Manufacturing Company, also known as BMW Spartanburg, is the BMW Group's only assembly facility in the United States, and is located in Greer, South Carolina. The plant is currently BMW's major global production site for the X3, X4, X5, X6, and X7 crossover SUVs , whose biggest market is the U.S., while other BMW models sold in the U.S. market are imported.
BMW announced in 1992 that it would build a 1,150-acre (470 ha) manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States to strengthen its international production system. The plant opened in 1994.
In 2010 BMW announced that it would spend $750 million to expand operations at the Greer plant. This expansion will allow production of 240,000 vehicles a year and will make the plant the largest car factory in the United States by number of employees. BMW's largest single market is the United States, where 339 dealerships sold 346,023 cars in 2015.
The $2.2 billion plant, which employs 23,000 (BMW and contract), is part of the company’s global five-plant production network.
The automaker announced in 2014 an additional $1 billion investment in the facility that will make Spartanburg, South Carolina BMW's largest US factory, with an annual capacity of 480,000 units when including the X7. There were 411,171 vehicles produced in 2016, of which 70% were exported to 140 countries. The plant is the largest BMW plant in the world in terms of vehicle production volume.
A nearby dry inland port, 200 miles from the port of Charleston, handles many of the plant's needs for cargo and finished vehicles. In 2015, 250,000 new cars were sent by rail from BMW Spartanburg to Charleston port. Some air freight is also used.
- BMW 3 Series (E36) (1994–1996; also produced in Germany and South Africa)
- 318i Sedan (1994–1995)
- 318is Coupe (1994–1995)
- 328i Sedan (1996)
- BMW Z3 (E36/4) (1995–2002)
- M Roadster
- M Coupe
- BMW Z4 (E85) (2003–2008; successive generation produced in Germany)
- M Roadster
- M Coupe
Model range in the U.S.
There are several models which have been solely sold in the United States:
- 1971-1977 BMW New Six Bavaria: This US-only model offered the more powerful engine in a car with fewer luxury features.
- 2005-2016 BMW M5 transmission options: The United States and Canada were the only markets where the E60 and F10 M5 was available with a manual transmission.
There are also several international models which were not sold in the United States:
- 2004-2011 BMW 1 Series (E81/E87) hatchbacks: Due to the poor sales figures of its predecessor (the BMW 3 Series Compact, sold in the US from 1994-1999), the hatchback models of the first generation 1 Series were also not sold in the US.
- 1987-present station wagons: Many of BMW's station wagon ("Touring") models have not been available in the US.
Several BMW engines have not been officially sold in the United States, due to emissions regulations. These include:
- M20: Early versions of the M20 engine, which used Jetronic fuel-injection, were not sold in the US.
- M52: Due to high-sulfur fuel in the US at the time, most M52 engines sold in the US used an iron block, instead of the aluminium block used in other markets.
- N53: Due to high-sulfur fuel, the US was one of several countries where the N53 was not sold. Instead, its N52 predecessor remained in use in these countries.
- S50/S52: For the E36 M3, the United States models used different engines to the models used in most other markets. The S50B30US and S52 engines used in the US are less powerful than the equivalent Euro-specification S50 engines.
"Bimmer" and "Beemer" nicknames
Some people in the United States prescribe that "beemer" should be used specifically for motorcycles and "bimmer" should be used for cars. Some of these people claim that "true aficionados" make this distinction and those who don't are "uninitiated." Usage in North American mainstream media also varies, for example The Globe and Mail of Canada prefers Bimmer and calls Beemer a "yuppie abomination", and the Tacoma News Tribune says that it is "auto snobs" who use the terms to distinguish between cars and motorcycles.
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That Charleston facility now sees approximately 5,000 finished vehicles per week arriving via Norfolk Southern along a rail line that starts at the end of the BMW assembly line and testing centre in Greer. Of the 285,000 finished vehicles exported by the OEM from the plant during 2015, Charleston port was the point of departure for some 250,000 units.
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Beemer – BMW motorcycle; as opposed to Bimmer, which is a BMW automobile.
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'Bimmer' is the slang for a BMW automobile, but 'Beemer' is right when referring to the company's motorcycles.
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Bimmers (yes, it's 'Bimmer' for cars—the often misused 'Beemer' refers only to the motorcycles).
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Editor's note: Both nicknames are widely used, though Bimmer is the correct term for BMW cars, Beemer for BMW motorcycles. A Google search yields approximately 10 times as many references to Bimmer as to Beemer.
- Morsi, Pamela (2002). Doing Good. Mira. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-55166-884-0.
True aficionados know that the nickname Beemer actually refers to the BMW motorcycle. Bimmer is the correct nickname for the automobile
- Hoffmann, Peter (1998). "Hydrogen & fuel cell letter". Peter Hoffmann: 150.
For the uninitiated, a Bimmer is a BMW car, and a Beemer is a motorcycle.Cite journal requires
- English, Bob (7 April 2009). "Why wait for spring? Lease it now". The Globe and Mail. Toronto, CA: CTVglobemedia Publishing. Archived from the original on 25 July 2013.
If you're a Bimmer enthusiast (not that horrible leftover 1980s yuppie abomination Beemer), you've undoubtedly read the reviews,
- The Nose: FWay students knew who they were voting for in school poll [South Sound Edition]. 25 October 2002. The News Tribune, p. B01. Retrieved 6 July 2009, from ProQuest Newsstand. (Document ID: 223030831) "We're told by auto snobs that the word 'beemer' actually refers to the BMW motorcycle, and that when referring to a BMW automobile, the word's pronounced 'bimmer.'"