BMW and its partner in China, Brilliance, agreed to expand their BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) joint venture. BBA aims to increase capacity at both local facilities in order to produce 520,000 BMW a year from 2019. Moreover, the BMW iX3 may hit markets outside the People’s Republic.
BMW and Brilliance signed their agreement early this week in presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in order to solidify their existing cooperation long-term.
Both companies committed to growing their electric car brand BBA, even beyond China. Says Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG: “Our agreement sets a long-term framework for our future in China – a future involving continued investment, further growth and a clear commitment to the development and production of electric vehicles. The next chapter of our cooperation has the potential to go beyond our existing motto – in China, for China.”
Apart from increasing production capacity at their Tiexi and Dadong plants in Shenyang, to a total of 520,000 BMW brand vehicles in 2019, they also want to export the all-electric China model of BBA, the BMW iX3 a year after. Elaborates Krüger: “The all-electric BMW iX3, produced by BBA from 2020, will find customers around the world.”
They did not disclose which markets these may be nor how much the expansion of their production facilities in China will cost the joint venture.
The cooperation of BMW and Brilliance goes back 15 years and has proven fruitful. BBA built two-thirds of all BMW vehicles sold in China last year. The country has advanced to BMW’s largest market, bigger than the next two largest markets, the US and Germany, combined.
And they want to solidify their presence. Just in May, BBA announced the expansion of their battery facility as well. The new complex will be called the High Voltage Battery Centre Phase II reportedly. It will produce batteries of the fifth generation of the BMW eDrive technology for the fully electric vehicle BMW iX3.
On a smaller note, BMW also signed a contract with Great Wall Motors in Berlin to form a 50:50 joint venture as expected. ‘Spotlight Automotive Limited’ will develop electric vehicles in China, among them those bearing the Mini label. In addition, it will build electric cars for Great Wall.