A long-wheelbase X1 is currently built by BMW for the Chinese market
The potential partnership, which is reported to be with Chinese car brand Great Wall, will be BMW’s second. The company already has ties with Brilliance to produce its range of cars, including China-only models, in the country.
Currently, it is a legal requirement for international brands to partner a domestic car maker to produce vehicles in China.
It is believed that the new venture would aim to increase both BMW’s production volumes and its EV share, as China prepares to introduce strict quotas on the percentage of plug-in offerings sold by car makers.
The quotas have been met with calls for leniency, with many car makers believing the targets to be unattainable.
Cars produced under the BMW and Great Wall deal will be built in the city of Changshu in the east, and a source close to the subject said only EVs would be produced there. BMW is currently the second-largest premium car maker in China after Audi.
What has not been specified is whether BMW-only products would be made in that plant or if the agreement involves adding a second production facility for the upcoming electric Mini, which is currently only slated for production at the brand’s Oxford plant in the UK.
A BMW spokesman said: “We don’t comment on speculation as a matter of principle. Our business development with the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive will continue as planned and we will carry on to invest and develop this joint venture.
"Based on the successful co-operation so far, the BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd decided in June 2014 to extend the contract for their Chinese joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive early. The ten-year contract is valid until 2028.”