BMW hiring hundreds in Upstate

FILE PHOTO: A BMW  employee works on the underbody of a BMW X5 inside the BMW Manufacturing Company in Greer.
FILE PHOTO: A BMW employee works on the underbody of a BMW X5 inside the BMW Manufacturing Company in Greer.

BMW Manufacturing Co., the Upstate’s industrial leviathan, said Wednesday it needs more workers — several hundred — to staff expanded production and logistics operations.

The company said the head count would swell from more than 7,000 to approximately 8,000 on-site workers by the end of 2014, with the completion of a two-year, $900 million expansion of more than 1.6 million square feet and more vehicles rolling off the assembly lines.

The new workers would be hired by MAU Inc., whom BMW has used for years to hire contract staff.

BMW Manufacturing spokesman Steve Wilson said starting pay for MAU jobs at the plant is $15 per hour — 50 cents less than for an entry-level BMW production employee. Benefits for the MAU hires include health, dental, vacation and 401(k), according to BMW Manufacturing.

The new workers will be pulled from both online applications and a job fair Monday in Duncan.

They are needed to “support our future model strategy that will now include four BMW models,” said Manfred Erlacher, the new president of BMW Manufacturing.

“BMW’s projected global sales forecast is very encouraging. An increase in staffing is required to respond to this continued, strong global demand.”

The expanded factory and workforce will push BMW Manufacturing’s production capacity to 350,000 vehicles per year, and if past is prologue the plant will utilize all of its capacity.

Workers here assembled 301,519 X vehicles for BMW’s network of global dealers last year, making the Upstate plant No. 2 in the company to the Dingolfing, Germany, factory that cranked out 332,700 units in 2012.

The expansion also will keep BMW Manufacturing moving up the list of the biggest auto plants in the United States. Ford’s plants in Kansas City and Dearborn, Mich., led the country in production in 2011 with 460,338 and 342,162 vehicles, according to Automobile Magazine.

Next came three plants in the South — Hyundai’s factory in Montgomery, Ala., Nissan’s in Smyrna, Tenn., and Toyota’s in Georgetown, Ky. — all with production above 300,000 in 2011. BMW Manufacturing was No. 12 in 2011 with 277,277 vehicles, according to Automobile Magazine.

The expansion allows BMW to begin production of the X4 sports activity coupe sometime in 2014. It will join the X3, X5 and X6 models at the Greer plant.

The company first mentioned the X4 in January 2012 along with its expansion announcement.

Kenn Sparks, BMW of North America spokesman, said answers to when the X4 would go into production and into showrooms would “come later, nearer to launch.”

Applicants for the new jobs should attend the job fair at Spartanburg Community College (Middle Tyger Campus) on Monday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Applicants can also apply online at