Your Next BMW: Built in China?

BMW 1 Series sedan: Made in China

If Chinese quality has become good enough for Buick, Volvo, and BMW, there’s a good chance it’s good enough for you.

Cars made in China have long been associated with questionable reliability, gaps in body panels, and sub-standard safety features. Those days may be behind us, however, as foreign automakers continue to invest in Chinese manufacturing.

The Buick Envision and Volvo S60 are the first made-in-China cars imported for sale in the U.S., and they are each getting mostly positive reviews from auto journalists around the country.

Now BMW seems ready to further elevate Chinese manufacturing and import models built in China for sale to customers in Germany and the United States.

Automotive News Europe said,

BMW Group has been granted a license by Chinese authorities to export vehicles manufactured by its local joint venture BMW Brilliance, opening up the possibility of China-built BMWs being sold to customers in Europe or the U.S.

German premium automakers have steadily expanded production in China at their joint ventures with local companies but plans to export vehicles so far have not been on the agenda, in part because cars from China have a poor reputation for safety and reliability in Western markets.

BMW now believes the quality of cars produced in China has reached the level of those built in Germany or the U.S.

BMW is in no hurry to import cars from China, though. The company has an annual production capacity there of about 450,000 vehicles and, so far, all China-built inventory is being sold within the country. The best candidate for eventual export is the BMW 1 Series, though the company also builds the X1, 2 Series, 3 Series, and 5 Series in the land of the Red Dragon.

The world of car manufacturing is getting way smaller, and quality differences between vehicles made by major automakers—whether in Mexico, the United States, Germany, or China—are negligible.

Would you buy a BMW that was built in China?

-tgriffith

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