It must rile Donald Trump more than the tales told out of school by his disgruntled ex-staff.

Not for the first time, but for the fifth consecutive year running, a German manufacturer is the biggest exporter of cars in the United States — not into but out of the country.

So much for making America great again.

According to data released this week by the US. Department of Commerce, BMW exported 234,689 X models from its South Carolina plant during 2018.

About 81 percent of these Sports Activity Vehicles and Coupes were exported through the Port of Charleston with an export value of more than $8.4 billion, according to Commerce Department data.

This confirms that the Spartanburg factory is the leading US automotive exporter by value.

The factory has a production capacity of 450,000 vehicles and employs more than 11,000 people.

It produces more than 1400 vehicles each day and, in 2018, produced 356,749 vehicles.

The remaining 19 percent of BMW X models were exported through five other southeastern ports: Savannah, GA; Brunswick, GA; Jacksonville, FL; Miami, FL; and Everglades, FL.

All up the Spartanburg plant exported nearly 66 percent of its total production volume of 356,749 units.

Ironically, BMW’s volume and exports declined slightly in 2018 due to model updates of the popular BMW X4 and BMW X5.

In 2017, BMW announced an additional $600 million investment in the Spartanburg plant from 2018 through 2021, for manufacturing infrastructure for future generations of X models.

Last month, the plant produced the 4.5 millionth BMW built in South Carolina.

Later in the year, associates will mark 25 years of BMW production in the state.

“The remarkable partnership between BMW and South Carolina continues to thrive, and this is evident by the fact that our state remains the nation’s leader in the export sales of completed passenger vehicles,” South Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Bobby Hitt, said.

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Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.