It's Starting: BMW To Export Made-in-China 5 Series

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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it s starting bmw to export made in china 5 series

We have always maintained that what will get exports of Chinese cars in high gear is not Chinese cars, but foreign cars. Foreign cars, made by joint ventures in China. Nevertheless, I admit my high surprise to read, from China Daily to Chinacartimes, that BMW will export Made in China cars. And not their bread and butter 3 series.

BMW will become the first foreign luxury car manufacturer to export China-made cars when it begins shipping locally produced long-wheelbase 5 Series sedans overseas at the end of the year.

BMW will start exporting the cars, which are made jointly with Brilliance, as early as December, destination unknown. Said Christoph Stark, CEO of BMW Group Region China:

“We will find some markets, maybe in the Middle East, somewhere in Asia, or some other markets that welcome the products where we can test this export effort. The main market of course is here (in China), because we can’t even supply enough here.”

BMW’s new 5 Series sedan has sold real well in China, especially in the long version, which is a Chinese peculiarity. The man who has everything also has a driver in China. And he wants room in the back.

Stark announced another first: BMW will build engines in China. A Twin-Power Turbo four-cylinder engine will be made at a joint venture factory, to go into Made-in China X1 and other models.

Hold the usual comments: The quality of cars made at joint venture factories in China is usually indistinguishable from imports. As long as the cars are made from foreign plans, with foreign methods and foreign QA, they sometimes exceed the imports.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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11 of 47 comments
  • MrWhopee MrWhopee on Nov 24, 2011

    Is there really a demand for a Chinese made BMW outside of China? How much cheaper they're gonna be? The price of a Camcord? Now if it's the same overpriced price as German-build or American-built BMW's, who would want that? I can understand if some low-priced cars eventually are made in China and priced accordingly, but luxury cars whose primary selling point is being a German car?

  • Niky Niky on Nov 25, 2011

    German cars made in places that aren't Germany? Like Brazil where they used to build MINI engines or the US where they build X5s? Right. No one's going to buy that! But seriously, it's about damn time they started selling the LWB 5-series elsewhere. It's a good idea, and probably didn't cost as much to engineer as the horrendously ugly 5GT. Having sampled the new 5-series, I can imagine it appealing to more buyers with a LWB version, especially if that LWB version is cheaper than the 7.

  • Kita Ikki Kita Ikki on Nov 25, 2011

    People pay premium prices for Apple products. Every single one of them says "Designed in California / Assembled in China" When BMWs start showing up with "Designed in Bavaria / Assembled in China" there may be some grumbling, but people will soon get used to it. It's the BMW brand that matters, not where the car is put together.

    • See 6 previous
    • Niky Niky on Nov 26, 2011

      @Dynasty Automobiles in that price range aren't hand-crafted items... so there's little point in bragging about where they're made. It's obviously different if it's a Rolls or Jaguar with a handcrafted wood console. Face it, that market is largely unconscious of where the product is actually made... which is why the X5 and MINI have been great successes for BMW. Will "Made in China" be an issue for BMW NA? Obviously. Will it be a huge issue? Considering most buyers don't know their Japanese and German cars are made in the USA and their "American" cars are made in Mexico, likely not.

  • Robert.Walter Robert.Walter on Nov 26, 2011

    "The main market of course is here (in China), because we can’t even supply enough here.” What b.s. if you can't satisfy demand where you produce, and are the looking to sell some of that production elsewhere, then you are selling it too cheaply. or you are considering making a major investment to expand capy and the foreign mkt studies are a hedge against overproduction. My take is that they would like to produce this car in one plant to avoid double investment and the inevitable quality niggles coming from too much variety and lack of specialization.