The temporary shutdown of BMW Group Plant Spartanburg last month in response to the novel human coronavirus outbreak has now been extended to at least the end of the month (April 30) with more updates expected to come before then. The production facility, which happens to be the largest in the BMW’s global decentralized production network, employs approximately 11,000 individuals with recent updates having grown the workforce.
The plant was initially supposed to enter a planned shutdown to help mitigate the spread of the new virus on April 3, but the decision to idle the sprawling manufacturing site was moved ahead to March 25. It was intended to reopen April 13, but that date has now been pushed forward to at least April 30. In addition to disruption of the supply of BMWs post-pandemic that this will cause, BMW is also warning that supply chain disruptions are also on the horizon.
Last year Spartanburg produced 411,620 BMWs (a new record) and exported more than $9,600,000,000 worth of that. It was enough for BMW manufacturing in the U.S. to lead exports by value for the sixth year running, but it’s important to note that it wouldn’t be possible without roughly 300 U.S. vendors supplying billions of dollars worth of parts every year. With stay-at-home orders both preventing people from working and severely disrupting demand, the most effective way to describe the current situation might be say that, there’s no one to build the cars, and no one to buy them.—Alex Tock
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]