BMW is set to make electric Minis in China.
BMW is in a bit of a crisis. The company has been seen as lagging behind the technological curve when it comes to adopting hybrid and electric cars, and they’re aiming to fix that. They’ve already announced plans to bring a plethora or electric or plug-in hybrid cars by 2025, and one of those just happens to be the Mini EV.
The current Mini plant is in Oxford, and they make Minis for the entire global market. They’re already slated to produce the Mini EV by the 2020 model year, but BMW doesn’t seem to think that the English factory will keep up with demand, particularly in China.
China is a growing market for BMW. Last year the German carmaker sold over 600,000 cars in the country, and China has expressed a keep interest in bringing more electronic cars into the country to help combat urban smog. With BMW already a household name, the German manufacturer sees electric Minis as a sublime business opportunity.
BMW will partner with Great Wall, a stereotypically named Chinese automaker, to produce electric Minis in the country. A letter of intent has already been signed and the two companies will enter into a joint venture to produce the car. In order to for a car maker to build anything in the country, they’re required to enter into a joint venture with a Chinese company due to Chinese laws.
How this will affect Mini EVs produced in England is hard to say. BMW says that the deal won’t affect any production already in place in the UK, which could mean that Chinese produced Mini EVs will be for the Chinese market only. Or they could be building identical cars for both the local and world markets.
According to the Financial Times, BMW already partners with Brilliance, another Chinese manufacturer, to produce cars for the local market. BMW says the current deal will not affect their deal with Brilliance.