A new president is behind the wheel at BMW’s Upstate plant.

Manfred Erlacherhas assumed responsibility for the BMW Manufacturing Co. factory near Spartanburg.

He succeeds Josef Kerscher, who returned to Germany after six years to run the company’s plant in Dingolfing.

“Spartanburg is a significant contributor to BMW’s global production network and I am excited about the opportunity to direct future growth and expansion in South Carolina’s automotive manufacturing industry,” Erlacher said in statement.

Previously, he shepherded BMW’s plant in Leipzig, Germany, through a major expansion in preparation for production of the i3 and i8 cars. He is an engineer by training and has been with the company for 29 years.

BMW Manufacturing in Greer is in the midst of a $900 million expansion to add a new model, 1.6 million square feet of production space to the plant and increase capacity to 350,000 vehicles annually by the end of 2014.

The South Carolina plant is the German automaker’s only vehicle assembly site in North America.