BMW Manufacturing Co. started production Friday on the second-generation X6 model at its plant near Spartanburg.

The first new car is a Sophisto Gray xDrive 35i with black leather interior. It's bound for a dealership in China.

"As the world's first sports activity coupe, the BMW X6 holds a special place in

Spartanburg's 20-year production history," said Manfred Erlacher, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co. "The bold, new look of the second-generation X6 is a welcome addition to the plant's X-model lineup."

Since 2008, about 265,000 X6's have been produced for global customers. The X6 Sports Activity Coupe is produced exclusively at BMW Manufacturing Co. for distribution to more than 140 worldwide markets.

The South Carolina plant is in the midst of a $1 billion investment to increase production volume by 50 percent to 450,000 units annually by 2016. In March, the company also announced that the all-new BMW X7 will be produced in the Upstate.

Many of the cars produced in South Carolina travel through the Port of Charleston.