MUNICH, GERMANY - BMW will spend $750 million to expand its South Carolina production facility and create 500 new jobs, doubling the size of its U.S. manufacturing operations. The German automaker will add 1.2 million square feet of production space, and construction of new paint shop facilities already has begun, according to the Web site

The company will add a new generation of its X3 SUV to the site, making the plant the exclusive source for the X3 and X5 SUV as well as the X6 sports coupe unveiled earlier this year at the Detroit auto show. The X line of vehicles are four-wheel drive. The announcement comes about two weeks after BMW said it plans to cut 5,000 jobs in Germany and 600 elsewhere, or 7.5 percent of its work force over two years.


As the expansion is completed during the next four years, production will increase to 240,000 vehicles yearly from 155,000. BMW said the state was spending about $15 million on site preparation and the automaker may yet seek job development tax credits.