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German Carmakers Targeted by Trump Help Power U.S. Auto Exports

  • BMW, Mercedes are among top five auto sellers from U.S.
  • Germany’s trade surplus with U.S. raises president’s ire
A worker inspects a vehicle on the production line at the BMW manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Jan. 11, 2012.

A worker inspects a vehicle on the production line at the BMW manufacturing plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, on Jan. 11, 2012.

Photographer: Ariana Lindquist/Bloomberg

President Donald Trump likes to complain that Germany is worsening the U.S. trade deficit by selling too many cars in America. In fact, German automakers help power U.S. exports.

BMW AG’s biggest factory globally is in Spartanburg, South Carolina. Daimler AG is spending $1.3 billion to expand its 20-year-old Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and plans to source more parts locally. Sport utility vehicles and sedans produced at those sites make BMW and Mercedes two of America’s five biggest auto exporters.