With different car prices set for different markets, a new lucrative venture is shaping up: flipping BMWs in China. According to WSJ, federal prosecutors have begun seizing high-end cars at ports and related bank accounts holding millions of dollars in an effort to curb the shipment of cars purchased in the U.S. to China.
The price of a BMW car in China can be nearly three times higher than the U.S. sticker price. For example, a 2014 BMW X5 xDrive35i has a base price in the U.S. of $56,025 while in China, the same vehicle sells for $153,176.
The report says that at least 35,000 vehicles are purchased at dealers and shipped this way each year. These export operations often sell the vehicles for a little less than what official dealerships in China would offer.
A lawyer for a couple who had their assets seized, says that even though car companies and dealers often require buyers to sign a contract including fine print guaranteeing not to export the car, “the exact legalities of all this haven’t been fully tested in court.”
BMW China has seen a 16-percent jump in year-over-year sales and is expected to overtake the United States in sales by in 2014.