BMW executive says China tariffs haven't hurt US-made SUV sales one bit

  • Chinese tariffs have not hurt BMW exports from its plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina.
  • The German automaker has previously said rising trade tensions hurt its annual outlook.
A worker applies final touches on a Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) sports utility vehicle (SUV) on an assembly line at the BMW Manufacturing Co. plant in Greer, South Carolina, U.S. on Thursday, May 10, 2018. 
Luke Sharett | Bloomberg | Getty Images
A worker applies final touches on a Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) sports utility vehicle (SUV) on an assembly line at the BMW Manufacturing Co. plant in Greer, South Carolina, U.S. on Thursday, May 10, 2018. 

China's import taxes on U.S.-made cars have not hurt demand for BMW's X line of sport utility vehicles that are made in South Carolina, a top executive said Wednesday.

The ongoing trade war between Beijing and Washington hasn't dampened the appetite for German luxury family cars among China's well-heeled, according to the carmaker.

"We have not seen one single unit drop since the tariffs have been introduced," said BMW North America President and CEO Bernhard Kuhnt. BMW's Spartanburg plant is its largest in the world, and it primarily makes SUVs, which are becoming ever more popular with customers in many markets around the world.

The German automaker cut its annual guidance in September, attributing it in part to rising international trade tensions.

Its sales in China showed no signs of slowing, rising 12 percent in October over the same month last year and 6 percent year to date.

China is a massive market for luxury cars, said Michael Dunne, CEO of ZoZoGo, a firm that advises automakers on doing business in China. BMW, Mercedes, and Audi sell twice as many cars in the country as they do in the United States.