Since 1994 BMW and Upstate automotive suppliers have invested over $3 Billion and created more than 7,000 jobs in our region. The relationship between the automotive industry and the Upstate continues to grow and evolve almost daily. As a cornerstone for this cluster, BMW, the state of South Carolina, and Clemson University formed a partnership to establish a premiere automotive / motorsport research center in Greenville. The Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is located on a 250-acre campus along I-85 in our region. CU-ICAR is home to the Clemson University Graduate Engineering Center that offers our region advanced degrees in automotive engineering and motorsport technology.

BMW Impact

BMW Manufacturing

With the decision to locate in Upstate South Carolina in 1992, BMW Manufacturing Co. created momentum for overall growth in the Southeastern automotive industry. Since then, the Spartanburg Plant has produced a total of 1.6 million units and has contributed an estimated $4.6 billion to South Carolina’s economy. Currently, BMW is responsible for 23,000 jobs in South Carolina and generates $1.2 billion in annual wages and salaries.

  • This plant exports 70% of their throughput to BMW’s other world markets, making the facility truly a substantial “world plant”
  • 1,600 news jobs are being created at the Spartanburg plant as a result of a fifty percent increase in production capacity set for 2011
  • To learn more, visit the plant's website

BMW Suppliers

  • With BMW’s decision to locate in the Southeast, forty of its suppliers are now located within a few hours of the Spartanburg County plant
  • The rippling effect from these moves has resulted in the creation of more than 10,000 jobs for the state

BMW Plant Production Vehicles

X3 Sports Activity Vehicle

X5 Sports Activity Vehicle

X6 Sports Activity Coupe


X5 xDrive35d

Active Hybrid X6


X5 M

X6 M

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR)

Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) is an advanced-technology research campus located in the city of Greenville that focuses on automotive technology research and innovation. This is made possible through strong public and private partnerships with the Center’s automotive engineers. CU-ICAR offers the nation’s only doctoral program in automotive engineering via Clemson University. There are currently a number of existing on-site partnerships with select companies, such as BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC), SIMPACK, Ozen Engineering Inc., CADFEM, EnginSoft, JTEKT Group, and Proterra.

  • Total campus investment of $250 million
    • $50 million from public partnerships, $200 from private partnerships
    • Partnership with Clemson for research initiatives
    • Investments cycle back into sustaining and developing the campus
  • Companies have access to the research facilities at no cost
    • In conjuncture with the Deep Orange program, the partnerships can work with instructors and engineers to test new products and ideas
  • Sustainably-driven campus with 3 of the 4 existing buildings granted LEED certification

CU-ICAR Campus Recognition

  • Recognized in Battelle’s study on Trends in North American Research Parks: 21st Century Direction (2008).
  • CU-ICAR recognized as an example of five Global Best Practices by the National Academies of Sciences in their new report: Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks (2009).
  • The Association of University Research Parks (AURP), an international organization representing university-related research parks from around the world, presented CU-ICAR it’s Emerging Research/Science Park Award (2009).

Center for Emerging Technologies (CET)

  • Located on the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) campus
  • Three-story, multi-tenant, 60,000 GSF Class-A facility
  • In 2009, CU-ICAR received a $3 Million Economic Development Administration Grant from the Federal Department of Commerce to develop the CET
  • The CET will house smaller, separate work areas to benefit multiple tenants that desire a position on campus but with a smaller footprint
  • CU-ICAR is currently in talks with multiple companies looking to have a stake in this innovative campus, many of which are new technology companies
  • Sage Automotive Interiors will be headquartered on the third floor of the CET

 Pending Battery Lab

  • This prospective 7,000 square foot lab would be located within the CET and would focus primarily on developing heavy-duty battery technology for future large scale EVs, such as transit buses, delivery vehicles, and construction machinery.

Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center - Laboratories and Testing Facilities

Renk Labeco 4-Wheel 500 HP Chassis Dyno and Faist Semi-Anechoic Chamber

  • The Renk system is a low-noise chassis dynamometer housed in a semi-anechoic chamber which provides capability to perform driveline noise studies, mileage assessments and miscellaneous sound measurements

MTS 320 Tire Road Simulator and Weiss Climate Test Chamber

  • This system consists of an MTS 320 (4-Post) road simulator coupled with three downforce actuators which simulate aerodynamic forces and roll and pitch moments.

Zeiss Pro T Select Dual Column Vehicle CMM

  • This is a “drive on” CMM to allow full-vehicle, body-in-white and other large-item coordinate measurements.

FEV 580 HP Engine Dyno Test Cell

  • A containerized and expandable facility, this system accommodates testing of performance, engine durability and components, emissions, fuel, catalysts, and engine mapping calibration.

ETS Lindgren Electromagnetic Compatibility Chamber

  • An ETS Lindgren FACT-3-2.0 PREMIUM high-performance, RF-shielded, 3-meter, semi-anechoic chamber for EMC testing.

More Information:

International Transportation Innovation Center

International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC)

ITIC is leading-edge automotive research infrastructure. It facilitates a new approach to incubate transportation innovations in an ecosystem environment - open to multiple stakeholders at the same time - that is safe, secure, and confidential. In partnership with Clemson University International Center For Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) provides critical access to expert knowledge and state-of-the-art labs. The ITIC testing infrastructure, which is embedded at the South Carolina Technology & Aviation Center campus, allows companies to physically validate - in a real-world scenario - vehicle and infrastructure technologies that were conceived and developed in simulation and lab environment.  It includes an Asphalt Surface Straightaway, a Concrete Surface Straightaway, an Urban Testing Grid and an Interstate Test Track.

Specialized Technical Training for Our Workforce

Greenville Technical College

Automotive Engineering - Greenville Technical College Automotive Engineering programs cover virtually all aspects of engineering and design for automotive components:

  • Greenville Tech-Street Rods & Customized Care Program
  • Motorsports Technology Program
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology with Auto Focus
  • Welding Program
  • Machine Tool Technology
  • CATIA Software Training
  • Lean Manufacturing & ISO Programs

Mechatronics Program

  • Five Upstate technical community colleges, including Greenville Tech, have collaborated to offer training in the field of mechatronics
  • This area of high-tech problem-solving covers the disciplines of control systems, electronic systems, and computers and mechanical systems
  • Knowledgeable workers in this field are essential for automotive manufacturers in this area to quickly resolve a conflict on the floor and maintain productivity
  • Professionals in the Mechantronics Program will gain knowledge in the following:
    • Systems integration
    • Machinery placement and installation
    • Detect, diagnose, and correct control problems
    • Preventive and predictive maintenance

The McKinney Regional Automotive Technology Center provides technician training for auto body, automotive and diesel. The MRATC also provides specialty training for GM and Nissan North America.


ReadySC provides customized pre-employment training at no cost to new and expanding industries in the state via technical colleges such as Greenville Tech Motorsports.

Greenville, SC Automotive Companies

    Greenville County Automotive Companies - Select List

    Aiken Chemical Co. – Automotive Chemicals
    Alfmeier – Fuel tank & Gauge Systems
    Berrang Inc. – Fasteners and Assembly Parts
    Bosch Rexroth – Hydraulic Fluid Pumps
    Caterpillar – Mid-range Diesel Engines
    Diversified Coating Systems – Metal and Plastic Coating Systems
    Dover Hydraulics South Carolina LLC – Hydraulic Services
    Eberspaecher North America – Mufflers
    Greenville Glass Industries – Automotive Replacement Glass Distribution
    Greenville Industry Rubber – Hose and Coupling
    JTEKT – Ball & Roller Bearings
    Kolektor TKI – Motors and Generators
    KS Bearings Inc. – Fuel Pumps and Auto Components
    KS Gleitlager USA Inc. – Manufactures Motor Vehicle Bearings
    KTM Solutions – Automotive Mechanical Design and Analysis
    Laughlin Racing Products - Race Car Chassis
    Magna / Drive Automotive Industries – Major Body Panels and Assembly
    Mankiewicz Coating Systems – Metal Coating Systems
    MGA Research Corp. – Automotive Testing and Consulting Services
    Michelin North America Inc – Car & Light Truck Tires
    Nissan – Automotive Parts Distribution
    Pierburg – Hydraulic Fuel Systems
    Pilkington North America – Automotive Glass Supplier
    PRETTL North America – Wire Harnesses
    Proterra Inc. – Advanced Battery Powered Vehicles and Systems
    redi-Group North America LLC – Management Services
    Safety Components – Air Bags
    Sage Automotive Interiors – Automotive Fabric
    Standard Motor Products Inc. – Ignition Coils and Fuel Injectors
    Stueken LLC – Fuse Caps
    TBMC Inc. – Timing Belts