In the summer of 2018, the BMW Group and Great Wall Motor penned an agreement for a joint venture to build and develop electrified vehicles in the presence of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Not too long ago, both parties launched their new 50:50 joint venture - Spotlight Automotive Limited.
The plant will be located in Zhangjiagang near Shanghai and will cost of 650 million Euros or 1.040 billion Australian dollars. Completion of the plant's construction is due in 2022 and will eventually employ over 3,000 staff. BMW says that the plant will have a production capacity of 160,000 vehicles a year.
As mentioned, the joint venture isn’t just production focused but also includes the development of battery-electric vehicles in the world’s largest electrified car market. The plant will produce future fully-electric Minis as well as several models and brands for Great Wall Motor.
"This German-Chinese relationship underscores our commitment to China and the future of premium compact electrified vehicles. This joint venture will enable us to produce a larger number of MINI-brand-fully electric vehicles at attractive conditions for the world market. This is also an important strategic step for the MINI brand. The joint venture with Great Wall underlines the enormous importance of the Chinese market for us” said Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
The Oxford plant in England – which recently built its 10 millionth car since 1959 – will continue to be the home of Mini engineering and is the birthplace of the Mini Cooper SE. The Chinese-based joint venture will provide additional capacity and flexibility, claimed the Bavarian auto maker.
According to a report by Reuters, “BMW is following in the footstep of its rival, Volkswagen AG, who is readying two Chinese factories to build electrified cars with a combined production capacity of 600,000 vehicles”. Furthermore, Tesla is also aiming for a similar production ability with their new Gigafactory 3 in Shanghai.
Not long ago, BMW announced that they’ve been successful in delivering 500,000 electrified cars to customers and wants to double that number by the end of 2021, hence the joint venture. By that point, the Group says they’ll be offering five fully-electric cars including the BMW i3, iX3, i4, iNEXT and Mini Cooper SE.