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Charleston Business

#CharlestonAgenda: The Port of Charleston's New BMW Passengers, Dreamliners in Abu Dhabi, Ray August: 50 Most Influential, Nuking the Moon

Feb 15, 2019 10:53AM ● By Chris Haire
BMW's SC Plant Will Begin Producing Two New Models in April: Twenty-five years after the first BMW's went into production at the German auto giant's Spartanburg plant, the Upstate powerhouse continues to be a driving economic force across the state, thanks to the jobs it creates at its plant, the ones it indirectly creates through its suppliers, and those it helps support at the Inland Port of Greer and the Port of Charleston.

With an eye on continuing BMW's successful run as one of the, if not the top U.S. automotive exporter, yesterday BMW announced the addition of two new models to its Spartanburg line-up: the BMW X3 M sports activity vehicle and the BMW X4 M sports activity coupe.

“The addition of these two all-new models, plus the first-ever BMW X7, which began production last December, is a testament to the performance, passion, and pride of the more than 11,000 people working at Plant Spartanburg and serves to further underscore BMW’s commitment in the U.S.,” said Knudt Flor, President & CEO, BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in a company statement. “Since the BMW X5 was first introduced, creating the premium SAV segment in 1999, Plant Spartanburg has been BMW’s global center of competence for X models and continues to be so today.”

On the same day as the X3 M and X4 M announcement, Bernhard Kuhnt, CEO of BMW North America expressed concern about the Trump administration's threats to place tariffs on imported vehicles. In the past, President Donald J. Trump has singled out German automakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz as tariff targets.

"If tariffs go up, it's not good for the consumer it's not good for our dealer network it is not good for the economy in total," said Bernhard Kuhnt, CEO of BMW North America, told CNBC on Wednesday.
"I'm not at politician, but we'll deal with the consequences," he added.

According to CNBC, the "Commerce Department is expected to deliver a report within days that many industry experts say could deem auto imports into the United States a threat to national security and seek tariffs as high as 25 percent on all vehicles imported into the U.S. The tariffs for most light vehicles is now at 2.5 percent, and there is a long-standing 25 percent tariff on imported pickup trucks."

CNBC also notes that BMW "
expects to hit a near-record level of production this year of more than 400,000 vehicles." Many of those vehicles will be exported to the rest of the world from the Port of Charleston.

Why Mayor Tecklenburg has been unable to stop Charleston’s ‘hotelification’ problem (Charleston Post and Courier)

SRS Update: NNSA defense leader discusses pit production commitment (Aiken Standard)

Airbus Terminating A380 Program in 2021(Aviation Week)

FDA Issues Statement on Findings from Investigation of November 2018 E. Coli Outbreak Linked to Romaine Lettuce (Manufacturing.Net)

The Wire

JW Aluminum Ranks Fourth In Top Economic Development Of 2018 In S.C.

Beef Jerky Outlet Announces Location In Historic Downtown Charleston

Ortec Growing Its Existing Anderson County Operations

Clemson, Prisma Health-Upstate Offer Training Program For Sexual Assault Examiner Nurses

State Treasurer Curtis Loftis Announces Promotion Of Richards Green To Commissioner Of Banking

Mardi Gras Columbia Festival And Parade Set For Sat., March 2 At City Roots

Newberry College Retools Communications Program

Thomas & Hutton Projects Named In Top 6 Engineering Excellence Projects In S.C.

50 Most Influential
Ray August
President & Chief Executive Officer

Ray August is president and chief executive officer of Benefitfocus. He leads a team of over 2,000 Benefitfocus associates who deliver technology innovation to the U.S. healthcare and benefits market. 

August joined Benefitfocus in 2014 as chief operating officer, overseeing the company’s operations, customer success, and financial growth. He was promoted to president in April 2015. 

With more than 30 years of experience in technology, insurance, and banking, August is passionate about delivering world-class customer service and organizational excellence.

Before joining Benefitfocus, August was president and general manager for the $3 billion financial services division of CSC, a multibillion dollar global IT firm (now DXC Technology). Prior to CSC, he served as the group vice president and chief technology officer of Great Plains Software (later acquired by Microsoft and rebranded as Microsoft Dynamics GP). He previously held a management consulting position at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

August is a member of the AICPA. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina (USC). He is an avid Gamecocks fan.