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BMW, Great Wall Motor to produce electric MINIs in China

By Li Fusheng | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2018-07-10 20:00

BMW AG inked a deal on Tuesday with Great Wall Motor Co to produce electric MINI-branded cars in China, part of its efforts to become better established in the world's largest market for new energy vehicles.

The two plan to invest 5.1 billion yuan ($769 million) in a 50-50 joint venture called Spotlight Automotive Co based in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, Great Wall Motor said in a statement. When completed, the facility will have an annual production capacity of 160,000 vehicles.

"This strategic partnership is a clear win-win for the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor, enabling us to contribute to China's ambitious plans to ramp up new energy vehicles and reduce emissions in the mobility sector,"said Harald Krueger, chairman of the board of management of BMW AG.

China was MINI's fourth-largest market in 2017, with around 35,000 cars delivered.

BMW said the joint venture will also produce electric models for Great Wall Motor in addition to the MINI-branded electric cars.

"Great Wall Motor and BMW share a commitment to promote new energy vehicles. With the combined strength of both partners, our new joint venture will accelerate the uptake of electric vehicles," said Wei Jianjun, founder and chairman of Great Wall Motor.

BMW said it has no plans to set up an additional sales organization in the country for future MINI electric vehicles from this joint venture, and will continue its successful cooperation with the established sales structure and channels in China.

The plan to localize electric MINI cars came after BMW's deal on Monday to expand the annual capacity of its joint venture with Brilliance Automotive Group Holdings to 520,000 cars in 2019.

Established in 2003, the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive is currently localizing six BMW models in China. It produced two-thirds of the 560,000 BMWs sold in the country last year.

BMW also plans to produce the electric iX3 SUV via the joint venture from 2020 onward, which will be sold globally, according to the deal announced on Monday.

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