With the yen weakening and Europe's debt crisis spreading.
Volkswagen Group and its German peers plan to spend more than $25 billion by 2017 to expand production outside their home region and insulate themselves from currency convulsions.
BMW, already among the largest U.S. car exporters, says it will start producing the new X4 crossover at its factory in South Carolina, in addition to the other three SUVs it makes there.
Daimler is expanding a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama, and VW's Audi is building a $1.3 billion factory in Mexico.
The German manufacturers' overseas investment leads European rivals PSA/Peugeot-Citroen, Renault and Fiat Group, which remain more focused on their home region