Could BMW follow Volvo, GM in exporting Chinese-made cars?

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2017 BMW 5-Series

2017 BMW 5-Series

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BMW builds a number of models in China through a joint venture with local automaker Brilliance. The cars are only sold in China at present but that could change as BMW has been granted an export license by the Chinese government.

The information was confirmed to Automotive News (subscription required) by Olaf Kastner, the boss of BMW’s Chinese operations. He said no decision on exporting cars from China has been made since BMW’s two plants there, located in Dadong and Tiexi, are at full capacity meeting local demand.

BMWs built in China include the Chinese-only 1-Series sedan, as well as the 3-Series,  5-Series, 2-Series Active Tourer, and X1. Next year BMW will also start X3 production in China.

2017 BMW 1-Series

2017 BMW 1-Series

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Starting with exports of the 1-Series would make the most sense since the car isn’t built anywhere else. If sold in the United States, the car would provide BMW with an alternative to the Audi A3 and Mercedes-Benz CLA.

BMW is also readying a new Mexican plant which is scheduled to start production of the 3-Series in 2019. Most of the cars built at the plant are expected to be exported to the U.S.

Among the mainstream automakers, Volvo in 2015  became the first to sell a Chinese-made car in the U.S. when it brought over the S60 Inscription. Since then Volvo has also added the S90 to its list of Chinese-made cars sold in the U.S. General Motors also sells the Chinese-made Buick Envision in the U.S. Cadillac’s CT6 Plug-In Hybrid is also sourced from China.

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