A new joint venture with Great Wall Motor will oversee production of the Mini brand’s first EV for Chinese market; Oxford plant to meet rest of demand
Jimi Beckwith
23 February 2018

BMW has announced that a new Chinese joint venture with Great Wall Motor will oversee the production of Mini’s first electric model, which is due in 2019, for the Chinese market.

Manufacturing of the EV will run alongside Mini’s production efforts in Oxford, where the EV will also be made.

Production at BMW's existing joint venture in China, BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), already caters for BMW demand in the domestic market. 

BMW sold 560,000 cars in China last year, while 35,000 Minis found homes across the same timespan. BMW Germany built 1.15million cars in 2017.

So far, the plans for the new joint venture are only at the stage of a letter of intent, but BMW has alluded to more electric Mini models on the way, which would also be made by Great Wall.

The Mini Electric was demonstrated by a concept revealed last year, and first prototypes have since been spotted testing ahead of a 2019 launch. The production model will be toned down from the concept, with the highly stylised bodywork and yellow flashes on the exterior likely being diluted. 

BMW already has three facilities in China under BBA - two production plants and a battery factory in Shenyang. Alongside the Mini EV production announcement, these are getting a boost in investment.

During the early stages of the Brexit process, BMW executives issued warnings about the future of Mini’s Oxford plant, which currently deals with demand for Minis in more than 110 markets.

A Mini spokesman told Autocar: "This announcement does not put into question Mini's commitment to our UK facilities, as demonstrated by our recent investment decisions, which include building the first electric Mini at Oxford."

The spokesman couldn't elaborate on the brand's plans following the first EV, however.


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23 February 2018

First investment in Mini production moves to Netherlands, now to China. The future looks bleak for any further upgrades of the Cowley plant

23 February 2018
soldi wrote:

First investment in Mini production moves to Netherlands, now to China. The future looks bleak for any further upgrades of the Cowley plant

It's almost impossible to get into the Chinese market without a partnership with a domestic manufacturer. That's just how China operates. "Make them here or you can't sell them."

Nothing to do with Brexit!

23 February 2018
TheBritsAreComing wrote:

Nothing to do with Brexit!

Sadly it is; an ex-colleague at Cowley confirmed it's a factor. Ramping up EV production for other markets from the China factory is more likely than from the UK now :(

23 February 2018

You have often shown vacuity when it comes to cars. As you clearly know nothing about business or politics either, perhaps you'd feel more at home spending your evenings writing in the comments section of the Guardian? I'm sure they'd love your illogical, unintelligible and distorted remoaner viewpoints.

23 February 2018

"BMW sold 560,000 cars in China last year, while 35,000 Minis found homes across the same timespan. This represents just under half the BMW brand’s global sales and production." this isn't right as BMW sell more than 2 million cars a year.

BREXIT point is irrelevant here as most manufacturers who sell in China have plants there, Volvo's new XC40 is built in Europe and China for instance. 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

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