Great questions: (1) How much did BMW pay in corporate income taxes to the state of South Carolina for 2010, and how much will it pay for 2011, thanks to the huge increase in sales? And (2) How much did BMW pay in property taxes to Greenville County and other counties where its plant and facilities exist?
How soon can we expect answers to these questions?
According to the company, the data, which was provided by the U.S. Department of Commerce, confirmed its Spartanburg facility had moved from the largest vehicle exporter from the U.S. to non-NAFTA countries to the country's leading automotive exporter to the world.
BMW's announcement comes two days after the S.C. Department of Commerce and State Ports Authority released a report stating South Carolina had surpassed Michigan in 2011 as the largest exporter of vehicles in the country.
“This is huge news not just for us, but for the entire state,” said BMW Manufacturing Co. spokesman Max Metcalf. “It's the kind of recognition that speaks to the hard work of our employees, our suppliers and our network as a whole.”
The Spartanburg plant is the sole producer of the company's X3, X5 and X6 Sports Activity Vehicles. It represents a $5 billion investment in about 4 million square feet of production space and at least 7,000 employees.
BMW said it exported 192,000 vehicles, about 70 percent of the 276,000 vehicles it produced in 2011, through the Port of Charleston last year to 130 markets worldwide.
The plant exported 110,000 vehicles in 2010 out of the 160,000 it produced.
“Since the plant's production grew 73 percent in 2011, the plant's year-end export value proves the company's significant contribution to the U.S. balance of trade and strengthens its position as the leading provider of premium vehicles,” Josef Kerscher, president of BMW Manufacturing Co., said in a statement.
The company said more than 1,000 vehicles are produced at the plant each day.
BMW was named the state's exporter of the year for 2010.
In January, the company announced its plan to invest $900 million and hire 1,000 employees at its local plant over the next three years to add the new X4 and ramp up total production to 350,000 vehicles per year. BMW also said it will hire 300 workers for the plant this year and up its output to 300,000 vehicles.
The introduction of the next generation X3 was likely the biggest reason for the plant's export growth last year. BMW Group said it sold 117,944 X3 units across the globe last year, a 156 percent increase from the 46,004 sold in 2010.
Metcalf also attributed some of the company's success to its move in 2011 from the Union Pier in Charleston to the Columbus Street Terminal.
“BMW vehicles manufactured in South Carolina continue to be a major contributor to the Port of Charleston's overall success,” Jim Newsome, president and CEO of the State Ports Authority, said in a statement. “Consistently strong global sales have driven BMW's volume growth at the port, and we've completed significant improvements to Columbus Street Terminal in anticipation of the ever-rising demand for their product.”