Localisation works, according to a Bloomberg report from China.

It said BMW Group reported a 33% sales jump there during May after shifting production of the X3 crossover to China boosted deliveries, defying a year-long pullback in the world's largest market.

Bloomberg said making the X3 locally helps avoid a 15% Chinese import tariff on vehicles shipped from BMW's Spartanburg SUV plant in North Carolina.

The move also reduces the risk to the automaker should trade tensions lead to additional levies.

Last year, China temporarily hiked tariffs on US-made light vehicles to 40% and BMW said those measures cost it EUR300m (US$338m) in profit.

Higher sales in China lifted overall deliveries at BMW by 4.6%, outpacing premium rivals Mercedes-Benz and Audi, which have struggled with model changeovers and a steep decline in the Chinese market after almost three decades of growth, Bloomberg said.

Sales by Audi fell 7.4% in China and 5.4% overall. For Daimler-owned Mercedes, sales fell 0.9% in the country and 1.3% overall in May.