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BMW is Exporting its China-Made iX3 Electric SUV to 39 Countries

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【Summary】German automaker BMW is now exporting its China-built iX3 electric SUV to countries around the world. The iX3 is being built by Brilliance BMW, the automaker’s joint venture with Chinese vehicle manufacturer Brilliance Auto, which was launched in March 2003. The first China-made iX3s were shipped on Nov. 11 from the Port of Dalian to 39 countries and districts, most of which are in Europe.

FutureCar Staff    Nov 13, 2020 12:55 PM PT
BMW is Exporting its China-Made iX3 Electric SUV to 39 Countries
The BMW iX3 fully-electric SUV is being built in China for export.

German automaker BMW is now exporting its China-built iX3 electric SUV to countries around the world. The iX3 is being built by Brilliance BMW, the automaker's joint venture with Chinese vehicle manufacturer Brilliance Auto, which was launched in March 2003.

The first China-made iX3s were shipped on Nov. 11 from the Port of Dalian to 39 countries and districts, mainly in Europe, China's Gasgoo reports. The BMW iX3 went into series production in China in early October at BMW's factory in Shenyang, China. It's the first pure electric model from the core BMW brand.

The factory also produces the combustion engine version of the X3 SUV on the same assembly line in order to ensure a high level of efficiency and flexibility in production, BMW says.

It's the first time for the Brilliance BMW joint venture to export vehicles on such a large scale. Brilliance BMW will export a total of 1,600 vehicles this year and increase the amount to 12,000 for next year, according to Gasgoo.

The BMW iX3 is the automaker's first model to be manufactured for worldwide export at its joint venture factory in Shenyang. In September, the model was made available to pre-order starting at RMB470,000 to RMB 510,000 (US$71,143 - $77,198). Gasgoo reported that the iX3 may officially go on sale during the Guangzhou Motor Show, which opens on Nov. 22.

The new BMW iX3 is built with the fifth generation of BMW's eDrive technology, which includes a battery back with an energy density 30% higher than that of the previous generation, according to BMW. The iX3 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.8 seconds. 

The fully-electric iX3 has a range of up to 460 kilometres (285 miles) according to the WLTP test cycle and up to 520 kilometres (323 miles) of range in the NEDC test cycle.

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A growing number of the world's automakers, including Tesla, are beginning to export vehicles made in China, which is the world's biggest auto market.

In October, Tesla started to export the first China-made Model 3 cars built at its Shanghai factory to more than 10 European countries, including Germany, France, Italy and Switzerland. 

Joining Tesla is Chinese EV startup Xpeng Motors, which started shipping its electric G3 SUVs to European countries in September.

Xpeng Motors shipped 100 G3 SUVs to Norway, which has the highest EV adoption rate out of all European countries. Roughly 75% of all new vehicles sold in Norway are plug-in hybrids of fully-electric models.

The vehicle export volume continued to tick upwards in October. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a total of 109,000 vehicles were exported from China last month, representing a month-on-month increase of 10.1% and a year-on-year increase of 25.7%. 

From January to October, the export volume reached 728,000 units, down by 12.7% from a year ago, mainly due to the shutdowns in China earlier this year from the pandemic.

Despite the trade tension between the U.S. and China, BMW's Shenyang factory might eventually supply SUVs to the U.S., which is the second-biggest sales market for BMW. The government's "Made in China 2025" initiative is intended to establish China as a global high-tech manufacturing base. The state-led initiative gives foreign automakers more confidence that their local joint-venture factories have the advanced technology to build high-tech vehicles suitable for export around the world.

"As long as the vehicle is built properly, and BMW will make sure of that, it doesn't matter too much to consumers where the car comes from," said Tim Urquhart, an automotive analyst at market researcher IHS Markit to Automotive New Europe. "This will see a low-volume vehicle being made at a low-cost site."

China has another advantage in building electric cars, its home to two of the world's biggest EV battery manufacturers, Contemporary Amperex Technology Limited (CATL) and BYD. The two companies account for roughly one third of the global EV battery market.

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