The X3’s U.S factory, BMW’s largest auto assembly plant globally, is the 7-million-square-foot plant in Greer, S.C., near Spartanburg. It also builds the X4, X5, X6 and X7 utility vehicles, and is a global production hub for crossovers.
But the plant operated at 96 percent utilization in 2021, according to data from AutoForecast Solutions. The X3 accounted for about 27 percent of its output last year, according to AutoForecast.
Shifting its assembly to Mexico could free up capacity in the U.S. to expand manufacturing of other crossovers. Production of a new crossover begins in the fourth quarter of this year with the XM plug-in hybrid crossover — BMW’s most powerful M vehicle, combining a V-8 engine and a high-performance electric motor to generate up to 750 hp.
BMW’s $1 billion Mexico operation, a 45-minute drive southeast of San Luis Potosi, builds the compact 2 and 3 Series sedans.
LMC Automotive forecasting chief Jeff Schuster said the factory operated at just 42 percent of its 175,000-vehicle capacity last year.
“The plant has nearly enough space to absorb the current X3 volume in South Carolina,” said Schuster, who was not aware of plans to move X3 production to Mexico.