BMW to build electric car in the US?

German premium car manufacturer BMW could be set to manufacture an SUV/crossover powered by battery in the US. This model would be in direct competition with the Tesla Model X; however, board-level approval is needed before the plan can be put into operation and the BMW plant in Spartanburg in South Carolina can begin production

The Spartanburg plant already produces the X6, X5, X4 and X3 crossovers and it is clear that Harald Krueger, BMW's chief executive officer, is very keen on the idea of producing a rival to the Tesla Model X in the lucrative US market. If this happens, the electric crossover will join the i3 and i8 as the third model to be sold under the BMW i brand. The big difference, however, is that the i8 and the i3 are produced at the company's factory in Leipzig, Germany.

Speaking about the possibility of a new BMW being manufactured in the US, the Evercore ISI head of global automotive research, Arndt Ellinghorst, said in an investor note: "In our view an iSUV makes perfect sense for BMW. SUVs are in demand and given the market's reaction to Tesla's Model X so far, it seems to be a good fit for families and suburban commuters."

Until the BMW board makes its decision, there is no certainty about the project going ahead, with a spokesman for the firm describing it as "speculation". If it does happen, we can't expect the model to arrive in the showrooms much earlier than 2018.