BMW Inks Three New Deals in China

Automaker shifting some ute production from South Carolina to China.

by on Jul.11, 2018

Baidu Vice President Zhenyu Li, left, and Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, celebrate a new deal.

BMW has signed three new agreements with key partners in China that it says will bolster the company’s presence in the world’s largest automotive market.

The BMW Group and the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor inked an agreement to produce Mini electric vehicles through a new 50:50 joint venture, Spotlight Automotive Limited, dedicated to the development and production of electric vehicles in China.

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In addition, the BMW Group also expanded its successful BMW Brilliance Automotive partnership. In recent years, BBA has become a cornerstone of the BMW brand’s success in its largest market. As part of the expanded venture, BMW is now expected to move some production from its massive assembly plant in South Carolina to China. 

BMW currently exports vehicles from the United States to China to satisfy Chinese demand for utility vehicles. The exports from South Carolina are now subject to steep new tariffs due to the growing trade spat between the U.S. and China.

(Auto industry in the crosshairs as first shots fired in China trade war. Click Here for the story.)

BMW also inked a deal with Great Wall Motor to produce vehicles in China.

Around 560,000 BMW-brand vehicles were delivered to customers in China in 2017 – more than in the next two largest markets, the U.S. and Germany, combined. Two-thirds of all BMW vehicles sold in China last year were produced by BBA.

In 2017, China was Mini’s fourth-largest market, with around 35,000 units delivered. This underlines the brand’s additional global potential, which will now be significantly supported through the joint venture with Great Wall Motor. As well as Mini electric vehicles, the joint venture will also produce electric vehicles for Great Wall Motor.

The production of future battery-electric Mini vehicles in China, the world’s largest market for electromobility, is a key element of Mini’s continued strategic development within the BMW Group’s Strategy, BMW executives said.

(Click Here for more about China phasing out JV rules over five years.)

“Today’s signing represents a new level of cooperation between China and Germany,” said Harald Krueger, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, during the signing ceremony.

BMW's new deal with Great Wall will have Mini EVs on the roads in China.

“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,” Krueger added.

The BMW Group is firmly committed to continuing the successful cooperation with the established sales structure and channels in China and has no plans to set up an additional sales organization in China for future Mini electric vehicles from this joint venture, he added.

(To see more about the all-new BMW 8-Series, Click Here.)

Baidu Inc. and the BMW Group also have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding under which the BMW Group will join Apollo, the open autonomous driving platform by Baidu, as a board member. Baidu Inc. is the leading Chinese language Internet search provider.

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