BMW, Great Wall Considering Electric Mini JV in China

Mae Love
February 24, 2018

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. It leaves MINI over 18 months of preparation, which we know it's already underway since the vehicle has been spotted testing (albeit not in full production guise). China is the single largest market for automotive sales in the world.

The next steps will be to agree on the details of a possible joint venture and clarify aspects such as the choice of production location and concrete investments, BMW said in a statement. In a move that shouldn't really surprise anyone, the Bavarians are looking to have everything ready over there for when the electric MINI becomes production-ready.

Once finalized, BMW's joint-venture with Great Wall Motors, which is based in Baoding, Hebei province in north China, will already be the second such agreement with a Chinese firm after having already teamed up with the local carmaker Brilliance. The BMW Group has no plans to set up an additional sales organization in China.

BMW Group has signed a letter of intent with China's Great Wall Motor 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.

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First, we learned that the BMW-owned company doesn't plan on starting production at its Oxford plant (in U.K.) sooner than November 2019, which is still a pretty long time from now.

In addition to the joint venture with Great Wall Motor, BMW also said it would expand its existing agreement with Chinese auto manufacturer, Brilliance.

Mini sold a relatively modest 35,000 out of a total of 372,000 cars in China past year. In 2017, China was MINI's fourth-largest market, with around 35,000 units delivered.

Expansion of the BMW brand in its largest markets, such as China, has not led to a decrease in production at the company's German plants. Between 2007 and 2017, production in Germany increased by close to a quarter to around 1.15 million vehicles per year.

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