As Virus Raged, China Snapped Up Luxury Cars Made in Alabama

| May 22, 2020 @ 10:00 am

By Anita Sharpe

A raging pandemic, lockdown, and continued trade tensions didn’t curb China’s enthusiasm for some U.S.-built luxury cars.

Alabama’s auto exports to China in the first quarter of 2020 soared more than 170% from a year ago, said Greg Canfield, the state’s secretary of commerce. Three foreign automakers – Honda, Hyundai and Daimler Mercedes-Benz – operate assembly plants in Alabama, which hasn’t yet broken down the Chinese exports for each company. Together they produce about 1 million vehicles a year for domestic sales and export, Canfield said.

“By far our largest exporter on the automobile side comes from Mercedes,” he said. The Alabama Mercedes plant is the exclusive worldwide manufacturer for some of its most popular sport-utility vehicles, including the GLE and GLS, which sell at base prices of more than $50,000 in the U.S.

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