Economy

BMW Confirms Talks with Great Wall for MINI EV Development in China

BMW Confirms Talks with Great Wall for MINI EV Development in China

BMW Group has signed a letter of intent with China's Great Wall Motor Co.to jointly produce battery-powered Mini vehicles in China, as the German carmaker seeks to expand its electric auto business in the world's largest automobile market.

The German luxury carmaker BMW will join forces with China's Great Wall Motors Company Limited to shift part of the production of its "Mini" brand to China, the Munich-based company announced on Friday. In addition to its two automobile production locations, BBA already runs an engine plant, which includes a battery factory for electrified BMW brand vehicles produced locally in Shenyang.

A Mini spokesman told Autocar: "This announcement does not put into question Mini's commitment to our United Kingdom facilities, as demonstrated by our recent investment decisions, which include building the first electric Mini at Oxford". Currently, the Mini plant in Oxford, England, is set to produce an electric Mini in 2019.

The Chinese automobile, the country's largest producer of Special Utility Vehicles (SUVs), was first reported to be discussing the possibility of a cooperation with BMW in October 2017. The company is firmly committed to continuing the successful cooperation with the established sales structure and the cooperation with Brilliance Automotive.

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BMW and Great Wall Motor have yet to disclose the exact location of the new production line or when it will start making electric Minis in China.

BMW sold 560,000 cars in China a year ago, while 35,000 Minis found homes across the same timespan.

In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand's success in its largest market and serves as a model for the continued development of MINI in China. This underlines the brand's additional global potential, BMW says.

BMW Group was careful to say that the BMW brand's Chinese partnership and joint venture have not led to production decreases in Germany. At the same time, nearly half of all BMW production now takes place at plants outside Germany.