In South Carolina’s Blue Ridge foothills, the Hans & Franz Biergarten serves wiener schnitzel, German spaetzle and a concoction of sauerkraut, cream cheese, bacon and corned beef rolled in bread crumbs and fried.

The Bavarian-themed eatery in Greenville, like the annual Oktoberfest in nearby Greer, are testament to the mark made by BMW in the area since the manufacturer started auto assembly there 20 years ago this month.

The impact has gone both ways. The factory in Spartanburg, a 10-minute drive from Hans & Franz, is integral to BMW’s efforts to protect profit margins and keep ahead of German luxury-car rivals Audi and Mercedes-Benz. The only auto plant in the rural state also serves as a model for the industry.

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