Automotive – Greenville Area Development Corporation

Since 1992 BMW has invested $10.6 Billion in South Carolina and has created over 11,000 jobs on its Spartanburg campus. Add to that the suppliers required to supply and support the campus, and BMW provides jobs for over 30,000 South Carolinians. 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 as well as BMW’s Information Technology Research Center (ITRC).

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 4.7 million vehicles (as of December 2019) or approximately 1,500 vehicles per day having expanded some 6 times. Currently, BMW is responsible for 30,000 jobs in South Carolina and generates $1.8 billion in annual wages and salaries. A 2014 study estimates BMW’s annual economic output amounts to $16.6 Billion.

  • This plant exports 70% of their throughput to BMW’s other world markets, making the facility truly a substantial “world plant”
  • 80% of cars produced are customized for an individual owner
  • 40 Tier 1 suppliers are located in South Carolina
  • To learn more, visit the plant’s website

BMW Plant Production Vehicles

X3 Sports Activity Vehicle X5 Sports Activity Vehicle X6 Sports Activity Coupe
X4 Sports Activity Coupe X5 M Sports Activity Vehicle X7 Sports Activity Vehicle

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

In 2003, Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) was simply an idea. Today CU-ICAR is a growing 250-acre advanced-technology research campus located in the city of Greenville that focuses on automotive technology research and innovation, and is well on its way of realizing the CU-ICAR vision “to be the premier automotive research, innovation, and educational enterprise in the world”. This dream is being realized through strong public and private partnerships with center’s automotive engineers. CU-ICAR offers one of only two doctoral programs in automotive engineering in the nation via Clemson University, and there are currently twenty-one (21) on-site partnerships with select companies such as BMW,Michelin, KOYO/JTEKT, and Proterra.

  • Total campus investment of $250 million
    • $122 million from public sources, $75 million from private industry, and over $36 million from public/private partnerships used to fund four (4) engineering program endowed chairs
    • Partnership with Clemson for research initiatives
    • Investments cycle back into sustaining and developing the campus
  • Sustainably-driven campus with 5 existing buildings granted LEED certification
  • 5 Technology Neighborhood developments planned for the Campus
  • 6 Occupied buildings in Neighborhood One
    • CU-ICAR AutoPark and Innovation Place
    • BMW Information Technology Research Center (ITRC)
    • Koyo/JTEKT (Collaboration Building 3)
    • Center for Emerging Technologies (CET)
    • One Research Drive

CU-ICAR Strategic Research Areas

  • Advanced Powertrain System
  • Automotive Systems Integration
  • Human Factors/HMI
  • Vehicle Performance
  • Vehicle-to-Vehicle Connectivity and Vehicle-Infrastructure Integration
  • Vehicular Electronics

CU-ICAR Testing Services

Companies in partnership with CU-ICAR have access to the research facilities and can work with instructors and engineers to test new products. Thanks to world class partners, the Campus houses more than $12 million in state-of-the-art full vehicle, component and material testing facilities and equipment.

  • Carroll A. Campbell Jr. Graduate Engineering Center
    • 90,000-square-foot graduate building houses the automotive engineering program
    • Also the center for systems integration research activities as well as for faculty, student, offices and conference facilities
    • Link to complete list of testing facilities and equipment
  • Component Testing Laboratory
    • Located in the Center for emerging Technologies (CET)
    • Industrial-scale laboratories and testing facilities are accessible for commercial use to companies and professionals for appled R&D on new technology
    • Current testing services portfolio includes advanced solar simulation, climate testing and shaker/vibration testing
    • Link to complete list of testing facilities and equipment

International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC)

Located in Greenville, SC, at the heart of the Upstate South Carolina automotive cluster, ITIC is an independent, non-profit proving ground for automotive OEMs, suppliers, technology providers and research universities to test and validate mobility innovations. In addition to offering multi-configuration test tracks, ITIC provides a variety of services for developing and testing transportation megatrends such as vehicle automation, connectivity and electrification. For more information, visit, or call (864) 451-5761.

Greenville Technical College

Greenville Technical offers programs that cover virtually all aspects of engineering and design for automotive components:

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.

Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI)

CMI offers machine tool technology, CNC machining, and mechatronics through Greenville Technical College’s associate degree ad certificate programs as well as corporate training and continuing education options in:

  • Industrial Automation
  • Robotics and Mechatronics
  • CNC Machining
  • 3D Printing and Additive Manufacturing
  • Project Management
  • Lean Six Sigma
  • Engineering Design and Prototype
  • Metrology and Quality Management
  • Manufacturing Process Design


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 County Automotive Companies – Select List

Alfmeier Friedrichs & Rath  – Fuel tank & Gauge Systems
Bosch Rexroth– Hydraulic Fluid Pumps
Diversified Coating Systems – Metal and Plastic Coating Systems
FSI Advanced Research, LLC – R&D of Machine Vision Technologies
Fuyao North America – Automotive Replacement Glass Distribution
JTEKT– Ball & Roller Bearings
Magna / Drive Automotive Industries– Major Body Panels and Assembly
Michelin North America Inc– Car & Light Truck Tires
Nissan – Automotive Parts Distribution
Ortec Machining & Fabrication – Full Service Manufacturer of Precision Parts
Pierburg – Hydraulic Fuel Systems
PRETTL North AmericaWire Harnesses
Proterra Inc. – Advanced Battery Powered Vehicles and Systems
redi-Group North America – Management Services
RodingTechology North America, LLC – Headquarters
Safety Components– Air Bags
Sage Automotive Interiors  – Automotive Fabric
South Carolina Plastics – Plastic Components
Standard Motor Products Inc.  – Ignition Coils and Fuel Injectors
Stueken LLC – Fuse Caps
Tower International Stampings, Frames and other Chassis Structures

Proterra Electric Buses Case Study

The first Proterra bus completed in Greenville, the Battery Electric-35, rolls off the assembly line on December 16, 2010.  Learn more by reading and watching “Transporting America: Proterra” at

Learn more about Greenville’s industries.

Feel free to reach out to GADC for more information, or learn more about local industries.