BMW to build ‘New Class’ electric car in China as well
BMW will also manufacture its “Neue Klasse” or New Class electric cars in China. Following the market launch in 2025, the next-gen EV models will also be produced by the China joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) in Shenyang from 2026, as will the batteries required for them.
As announced in November 2022, BBA is investing ten billion yuan (around €1.3 billion) in the new site, where sixth-generation battery cells will be assembled into battery packs from 2026. BMW does not specify from which manufacturer it will source the battery cells. However, partnerships exist with the Chinese companies CATL, Eve Energy and Envision AESC – in the latter’s case, however, the partnership primarily concerns production in the US.
The virtual ground-breaking ceremony for the new battery assembly site already took place – as part of an event celebrating BBA’s 20th anniversary. The joint venture has several plants in Shenyang, but the exact location of the battery assembly is not mentioned. It is also unclear in which part of the plant the production of the New Class will be located. BBA already builds electric models in Shenyang, the iX3 comes off the production line in the Dadong plant, and the i3 eDrive 35L – an electric version of the 3-series sedan – is built in the plant in the Lydia district.
Whereas it is already clear that the New Class model produced at the plant in Debrecen, Hungary, will be a model in the 3 Series segment, BMW does not say which model will be made in Shenyang. Nor does the carmaker specify the production capacity for the New Class in Shenyang. The only thing that is clear is that in the past 20 years, production has expanded from 30,000 to 830,000 units per year.
With Shenyang, BMW confirmed its fifth production site for the New Class. In addition to Debrecen in Hungary, the EVs will also be built in Munich in Germany, San Luis Potosí in Mexico, and Spartanburg in the USA. BMW reportedly plans at least six model launches within 24 months for these e-cars from 2025.
“From a small assembly facility with a limited number of units, our plants in Shenyang have developed into our largest production location worldwide. Today, 20 years after our joint venture’s initial start of production, I am delighted to announce local production of the ‘Neue Klasse’ in China,” says Milan Nedeljković, BMW AG Board Member for Production in Shenyang. “Integration of the ‘Neue Klasse’ into our production in China goes hand in hand with construction of a high-voltage battery assembly for the next, sixth generation of batteries and will make a significant contribution to further electrification of our line-up and, therefore, to our success as a company.”