BMW invests $400 mln to expand S. Carolina plant

SPARTANBURG, S.C., Sept 26 (Reuters) - German automaker BMW AG said on Thursday it will invest $400 million to expand its Spartanburg, South Carolina plant, where it builds the X5 sport utility vehicle and the new Z4 roadster.

BMW, Germany's third largest automaker, said the expansion which will create 400 new jobs, will expand capacity at the plant to more than 150,000 vehicles annually from more 120,000 previously.

The expansion is part of BMW's efforts to grow its sales worldwide by about one-third over the next five years to 1.3 million vehicles from about 1 million.

BMW broke ground on the South Carolina facility, its only vehicle assembly plant in the United States, 10 years ago, and has invested almost $2 billion there.

The plant expansion coincides with the official unveiling of the Z4 at the Paris auto show. The racy Z4 replaces the classic-looking Z3 roadster, which premiered in the 1995 James Bond movie "Goldeneye".