Monday, August 22, 2011

Why BMW Picked South Carolina: No Auto Culture


 The Richmond Fed has an interesting article ("When South Carolina Met BMW") that reviews the history of how BMW decided to start producing vehicles in South Carolina, where production started in 1996.  BMW now employs 7,000 workers at its Spartanburg factory, which produces about 20,000 X3, X5 (pictured above) and X6 sports "activity" vehicles every month. 

Here's an interesting excerpt:

"BMW reviewed 250 sites worldwide before choosing Spartanburg County, in the South Carolina Upstate, an 11-county region in its northwest corner. BMW preferred the Eastern Standard Time zone because it allows real-time conversations between South Carolina and Germany. 

BMW also was pleased by something South Carolina did not possess: an existing automotive culture. “BMW wanted to develop its workforce and routine in its own way,” retired BMW executive Bobby Hitt says. And it probably didn’t hurt that union activity in the state is practically nonexistent. Foreign auto firms locate, in most cases, in right-to-work states."


6 Comments:

At 8/22/2011 12:55 PM, Blogger juandos said...

'Foreign auto firms locate, in most cases, in right-to-work states'...

Bingo!

This has just galled certain sectors of our society: The anti-bailout lawmakers are all Republicans possessed of a deep-seated antipathy to organized labor and angry at the way the government has bungled the financial bailout...

(thanks to Slate)

 
At 8/22/2011 2:23 PM, Blogger Marko said...

I am proud of my "deep-seated antipathy to organized labor."

 
At 8/22/2011 3:18 PM, OpenID sethstorm said...

They forgot about NASCAR. Or that Honda had no problem locating on the proper side of the Mason-Dixon line, north of it.

That's another reason to just go straight to the source if you want a BMW. Or get something that wasn't built by people desperate to replace their old textile job.

These states were clean slates for business to develop into reliable opposition to unions. Hopefully the southward migration of Northerners fixes that.

 
At 8/22/2011 4:28 PM, Blogger Walt G. said...

juandos,

I am not so sure that we can't call huge financial incentives to locate bailouts, too. At least the bridge loans were paid back in full years early, and the U.S. got stock for what wasn't paid back.

sethstorm,

that businesses have opposition to unions is the problem. Any solution to that problem will take workers, union, and business working together to solve. The "enemy" has to be your competition and not each other.

 
At 8/22/2011 6:20 PM, Blogger Michael E. Marotta said...

Republican Gov. Rick Snyder thinks that his administration can bring in the smokestacks that Democratic Gov. Jennifer Granholm was chasing. Although Gov. Snyder was CEO of Gateway and considers himself an entrepreneur, he and his administration do not see the fallacy in "picking winners" by finding businesses to bring (or have opened) in Michigan. Spontaneous order is spontaneous before it can be order; otherwise all you get is "planned chaos."

I am out of time and out of money. In July, I spent two weeks in Austin, checking out the town. This week, I am packing for a September 1 move-in.

When I blog about it, I am going to call it "Escape from Starnesville."

 
At 8/23/2011 9:09 AM, OpenID sethstorm said...


that businesses have opposition to unions is the problem. Any solution to that problem will take workers, union, and business working together to solve. The "enemy" has to be your competition and not each other.


I'll agree with you there. Unfortunately, there is too much that gets in the way of that in history.

 

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