BMW to export China-built 5-Series LWB image

BMW is set to become the first foreign luxury carmaker to export China-made cars overseas, according to BMW Group China CEO Christoph Stark.

The first model to be exported is the locally produced long-wheelbase BMW 5-Series, which is made in a joint venture with Brilliance Auto in the northeastern city of Shenyang. Exports of the 5 Series Li will begin in December, with destination countries yet unknown.

Stark said the first shipments will not have big volume at the outset. “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,” said Stark. „The main market of course is here, because we can’t even supply enough here,” he added.

Launched in August 2010, the BMW 5-Series Li sedan has proven „extremely successful” in China, Stark said. Its share of the mid-sized premium sedan segment rose to 27 percent, up from 15 percent more than a year ago. BMW currently builds the 3-Series and 5-Series in China, with sales reaching 100,000 units in the first 10 months of 2011. Total BMW and Mini sales in China, including imports, reached 195,868 units in the first 10 months, up 45 percent year-to-date.