Here Are All the Vehicles German Auto Brands Sell and Build In the United States

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
“The Germans are bad, very bad. Look at the millions of cars that they sell in the U.S.

Terrible. We’re going to stop that.” – President Donald Trump

Through the first four months of 2017, Germany-based automakers and their respective subsidiary brands have sold 413,000 new vehicles in the United States.

At a minimum, 28 percent of those vehicles were built in the United States at assembly plants in Alabama, Tennessee, and South Carolina. According to Automotive News, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen combined to produce 281,519 vehicles, the bulk of which were destined for export.

But to avoid even a faint whiff of statistical manipulation, TTAC has compiled the complete U.S. sales and production picture for each of these manufacturers. We present them to you with no limited commentary.

VehicleU.S. April 2017 YTD SalesU.S. April 2017 YTD Production Mercedes-Benz C-Class – Vance, Alabama27,09828,455 Volkswagen Passat – Chattanooga, Tennessee24,41525,578 Mercedes-Benz GLE-Class – Vance, Alabama17,37459,322 BMW X3 – Spartanburg, South Carolina16,77350,997 BMW X5 – Spartanburg, South Carolina15,47256,290 Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class – Vance, Alabama10,00618,876 BMW X6 – Spartanburg, South Carolina2,08913,151 BMW X4 – Spartanburg, South Carolina1,17916,979 Volkswagen Atlas – Chattanooga, Tennessee —11,871 Total114,406281,519

Source: Manufacturers, Automotive News Data Center

In addition to the 54,478 sales of U.S.-built C-Class, GLE-Class, and GLS-Class vehicles, it’s worth noting Mercedes-Benz also sold 9,626 Sprinter and Metris vans in the United States so far this year. Mercedes-Benz assembles those vans in Ladson, South Carolina, but not in the conventional sense. Mercedes-Benz will be building vans in South Carolina at a traditional factory, but for now, the van’s assembly process is essentially a means of avoiding tariffs.

There are also a large number of Volkswagen-built products built inside the NAFTA zone in Puebla, Mexico. We’ve excluded those vehicles from the list above for a U.S.-specific picture.

With 35,513 sales of U.S.-built vehicles through the first one-third of 2017, BMW Group produces 33 percent of its U.S. sales volume with U.S.-built models: X3, X4, X5, and X6. Sales of BMW’s imported vehicles are down 10 percent in 2017, year-over-year. Sales of BMW’s domestically produced models are up 16 percent.

At the Mercedes-Benz brand – excluding those Sprinter vans and the Smart Fortwo — the 54,478 Alabama-built vehicles sold so far this year represents 51 percent of the Mercedes-Benz brand’s U.S. sales volume so far this year. The C-Class, GLE, and GLS models built in the U.S. have seen their sales rise 19 percent so far this year, while other Benzes have suffered a 13-percent sales decline.

At Volkswagen, where the Atlas was being produced in the first-third of 2017 but not yet on sale, the Volkswagen brand generated 24 percent of its January-April volume with the Tennessee-built Passat, sales of which are up 24 percent, year-over-year. Volkswagen’s other models, including the Mexican-built cars, are up 4 percent so far this year. Across the entire Volkswagen Group in 2017’s first four months, the U.S.-produced Passat accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. sales volume. With the Atlas coming onstream, that 13-percent figure will rise quickly.

With the relatively high-volume NAFTA zone Volkswagen vehicles included as foreign-built and with the U.S.-assembled Mercedes-Benz vans simply excluded from the equation, eight vehicles sold by German brands in America produced 28 percent of total BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz USA, and Volkswagen Group sales in 2017’s first four months. That’s 114,000 vehicles built in the U.S. and sold in the U.S. to go along with 290,000 vehicles sold in the U.S. but built elsewhere.

Again excluding the either/or/both Mercedes-Benz vans from the equation and including Mexican-built NAFTA zone cars among the imports, this places German automakers on track to sell roughly 350,000 U.S.-built vehicles in 2017 and 875,000 imports.

Timothy Cain is the founder of and a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Timothy Cain
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  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on May 28, 2017

    I come here to get away from the whole #45 thing..I just want to find a way to return the favor to the Heartland that gave him to us....but most won't connect the dots that he'll do zero for them. Personally, I'd take my Blue states, Secede from the Union, and the Red states (who are net consumers of Blue State Federal Money) can look elsewhere for something to subsidize them, along with their 1950's social policy. The cars they make here are cars they sell here. Each car on the list sells well in the US, but has limited to no presence in Europe. The X5 is rare in is the Q7, or the huge Mercedes. Different markets for different cars...They save a lot of shipping. The Germans also use the US market like we use Mexico, to scare the home Union into seeing the assembly can be done cheaper "over there". A review of worldwide car makers shows the smart ones all do this, not sell elsewhere and wonder why things don't sell "out there". We don't get a five door one series...Toyota builds big trucks for even VW does...and brown manual diesel wagons only sell on this board. Trump betrays his east coast perceptions...German cars are very common in NYC, but not so much elsewhere. Please, editors, no Trump on my car boards...these comments read like Zero Hedge without the tiresome antisemitism.

    • Larry Hancock Larry Hancock on Dec 08, 2022

      Thank you for you loquacious response. Way to show off that community College vocabulary!! Yay! Way to go!

  • Beelzebubba Beelzebubba on Jan 18, 2018

    All of the BMW 'X' vehicles (X3, X4, X5, X6 and upcoming X7) for the entire world are built in Spartanburg, South Carolina. They refer to it informally as the "X Plant".

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  • CKNSLS Sierra SLT I am thankful for those who have served/and serve this country to protect our freedoms.The "usual suspects" are quiet.......
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