A Tesla car charging in Beijing. Photo: Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

American-made cars are among the hardest-hit products in the U.S.-China trade war, facing a 40% import tariff in China — and some automakers are weathering the storm by doubling down on Chinese operations.

Why it matters: Moving into China is a natural step for big automakers looking to crack the world’s fastest-growing car market, but tariffs provide a big incentive to accelerate those plans. Their investments in factories and in research and development on Chinese soil could give China a long-term advantage when it comes to building the electric and autonomous vehicles of the future.

The big picture

BMW expects a 5–10% bump in Chinese sales this year, despite tariffs, because it has shifted manufacturing to Asia, Reuters reports.

  • The automaker now builds X3s intended for the Chinese market in China, so it doesn't have to export the model from Spartanburg, South Carolina. That raises the total number of BMW models manufactured in China to six. BMW also imports its X5 to China from Thailand.

Tesla wants to build a massive Chinese factory in part to weather the trade war.

Volkswagen is partnering with China as it plots its move to electric vehicles.

  • Volkswagen says it will invest $12 billion in the Chinese market by 2025, per Bloomberg, and expects China to be the largest market for its electric vehicles.

The bottom line: While the Trump administration launched a global trade war with the goal of bolstering U.S. manufacturing, the trade war's unintended consequences could far outlast the conflict itself.

Go deeper

Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

49 mins ago - World

Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  4. World: Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
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