BMW to raise prices of two U.S.-made crossovers in China

BMW exports crossovers from its plant in Spartanburg, S.C., to China.

BEIJING — German carmaker BMW said it will raise the prices of two U.S.-made crossovers in China to cope with the additional cost of tariffs on U.S. car imports into the world’s biggest auto market.

In a move due to take effect on Monday, BMW said in a statement to Reuters over the weekend that it will increase maker-suggested retail prices of the popular, relatively high-margin X5 and X6 SUV models by 4 percent to 7 percent.

The rates of increase suggest that BMW is willing to absorb much of the higher costs stemming from bringing the vehicles to China from its factory in South Carolina, underscoring the fierce competition among luxury car brands in China.

BMW’s move comes after China imposed new tariffs earlier this month on about $34 billion of U.S. imports, from soybeans and cars to lobsters, as part of a widening trade row.

Beijing, which this year cut tariffs on all automobiles imported into China, slapped an additional 25 percent levy on U.S.-made cars as of July 6. As a result, China now levies a 40 percent import duty on all cars imported from the United States.

“BMW stands for free (trade) but can’t stand still without taking actions to respond to the market changes,” a BMW spokeswoman said in an email message to Reuters.

BMW imports X4, X5 and X6 crossover SUV models from the United States for sale in China where demand for SUVs has been booming. Last year, the German automaker shipped more than 100,000 vehicles from the United States to China.

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