BMW iX3 Concept front 3/4Enlarge Photo
BMW has announced it will build its next electric car, the iX3 SUV, in China just as a trade war heats up between the U.S. and China involving cars-and in particular, electric cars.
On Monday, BMW announced that it will expand its Chinese partnership with Brilliance, known as BMW Brilliance Automotive or BBA, to build 520,000 BMWs a year, including the electric iX3, in China.
The news is significant, because it could make the iX3 the first BMW imported to the U.S. from China.
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CEO Harald Krueger said in a statement Monday, "The all-electric BMW iX3, produced by BBA from 2020 will find customers all over the world."
BMW currently builds X3 SUVs in South Carolina and South Africa, and China just slapped a 25-percent tariff on imported electric cars in retaliation for U.S. tariffs imposed by President Trump.
A company spokesman told Motor Authority on Monday that production levels at BMW's factory in South Carolina would not be affected by the announcement.
BMW Concept iX3
BMW Concept iX3Enlarge Photo
BMW just began producing gas versions of the X3 in China and showed the iX3 at the Beijing auto show in April.
At the iX3 debut event in Beijing, BMW said the car would have a 270-horsepower electric motor and a 70-kwh battery delivering a range of 250 miles. A 150-kw CCS Combo fast charger can recharge it to 80 percent in a half hour.
The move comes on the heels of other U.S.-based manufacturers expanding operations overseas, including Tesla and Harley-Davidson. When Harley-Davidson announced it would move some production to Europe, it set off a tweetstorm of protest by President Trump.