BMW's South Carolina factory set a production record in 2021 despite chip shortage

Spartanburg factory is BMW's largest

2021 was a record-setting year for BMW in more than one way.

BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory builds several of its SUV models.

BMW's Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory builds several of its SUV models. (BMW)

The premium automaker's full-year sales tally of 336,444 was up 20.8% from 2021 in a market that rose just 3.3% overall, but it built even more cars in the U.S. than that.

The brand's Spartanburg, South Carolina, factory produced 433,810 SUVs for local sales and export to over 120 countries, which was also a 20% increase over last year and more than 2019's output of 411,620 vehicles.

BMW plans to add fully electric car production at its Spartanburg factory in the coming years.

BMW plans to add fully electric car production at its Spartanburg factory in the coming years. (BMW)

Since 1992, BMW Group has invested over $11 billion into the facility, which is its largest in the world.

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"The fact that the Plant Spartanburg team set a production record during a very unpredictable year is a testament to the commitment and flexibility of our associates," Robert Engelhorn, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing, said. "Our associates continue to build premium quality products that are in high demand by our customers around the world."

Unlike many automakers struggling with supply chain issues, BMW had secured enough semiconductor chips to maintain production at the key facility.

BMW's Spartanburg facility via Google Earth

BMW's Spartanburg facility began producing vehicles in 1994. (Google Earth)

"We had the right quantities committed early on for 2021," BMW's global sales chief Pieter Nota told Automotive News. "We have entered into a direct agreement with chipmakers to secure several million semiconductors per year."

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The factory also built a record of approximately 70,000 electrified vehicles, which include hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and BMW's global sales of 2,213,795 were the most ever.

Several high-end brands, including Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Lamborghini, reported their best years ever in 2021 as parts supplies for their high-margin vehicles were prioritized by their parent companies.