Originally Posted by esqu1re
They build Audis in Shanghai as well. I'm not certain of this, but I think all the BMWs are imported. A truly foreign car has more cachet in China (from my experience), so that may explain why BMWs are a more valued brand. MB is also imported (I think), but I think they're more associated with old money....and China is all new money right now.
BMW builds cars in China in a 50:50 with Brilliance Automotive.
I don't know who the 2500 people surveyed were, but as previous posters have mentioned, Audis are kind of a stodgy government-mobile, and MBs tend to be associated with business tycoons. (Very few C-Class, mostly S-Class from what I've seen in China) Your average upwardly mobile consumer (i.e.: Someone who can conceivably buy a BMW at some point) probably likes that BMW has none of that baggage, along with it's sporty cachet, and accessible options like 3-series / 5-series.