BMW to team up with Great Wall Motor on battery-electric MINIs
BMW Group has signed a letter of intent with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to start local production of battery-electric MINIs for China.
The joint venture would establish production alongside the model’s manufacture at MINI’s Plant Oxford in the UK. This would mark the first Mini assembly site outside Europe, although the group said the expansion “could accelerate development of the MINI brand significantly without questioning the BMW Group’s commitment in the UK” as it pointed to how 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.
The joint venture would not see BMW Group set up a separate sales structure in China.
The Group confirmed last year that the battery-electric MINI – which is due to launch 10 years after trials of the MINI E began – will be based on its three-door hatchback, with the drivetrain to be built at BMW’s EV-specialised factories in Bavaria and integrated into the production line at Plant Oxford in the UK, alongside petrol and diesel-powered versions of the hatchback.
BMW also said in its latest announcement that it would expand its joint venture with Brilliance, which includes an engine plant with a battery factory for electrified BMW brand vehicles produced locally in Shenyang.