A raging pandemic, lockdowns and continued trade tensions didn’t curb China’s enthusiasm for some U.S.-built luxury cars, but not all auto exporters fared well.
Alabama’s auto exports to China in the first quarter of 2020 soared more than 170 percent from a year ago, Greg Canfield, the state’s secretary of commerce, said in an interview.
Three foreign automakers — Honda, Hyundai and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz — operate assembly plants in the state, which hasn’t yet broken down the Chinese exports for each company. Together they produce about a million vehicles a year in Alabama 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 SUVs, including the GLE and GLS, which sell at base prices of more than $50,000 in the U.S.
“The luxury makers are doing exceptionally well in China,” said Alan…