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."