BMW, Great Wall Motor to build 160,000-unit Electric Vehicle plant in China

03, Dec. 2019

German automaker BMW AG and its Chinese partner Great Wall Motors Co. breaks ground for an electric vehicle plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province in China on Nov. 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Great Wall Motors)
German automaker BMW AG and its Chinese partner Great Wall Motors Co. breaks ground for an electric vehicle plant in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu Province in China on Nov. 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Great Wall Motors)
TOKYO, NNA – German automaker BMW AG and its Chinese partner Great Wall Motors Co. will build an electric vehicle plant with a capacity of 160,000 units per year in China to produce models for both companies.

The two automakers said in a statement Friday they will spend 5.1 billion yuan ($725 million) on the factory in Zhangjiagang in the eastern province of Jiangsu, which is near Shanghai. It’s due for completion in 2022.

Spotlight Automotive Ltd., their 50-50 joint venture, will roll out fully electric vehicle models under BMW’s MINI brand as well as several models and brands for Great Wall, which specializes in sport utility vehicles, the statement said.

The first MINIs will be assembled at BMW’s Oxford plant in Britain for release in the first quarter of next year, according to the statement.

The future China factory will develop battery electric vehicles while providing more capacity and lower costs for making BMW’s electric 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,” Nicolas Peter, BMW management board member in charge of finance, said in the statement.

Nicolas Peter, BMW management board member in charge of finance at a groundbreaking ceremony in Zhangjiagang on Nov. 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Great Wall Motors)
Nicolas Peter, BMW management board member in charge of finance at a groundbreaking ceremony in Zhangjiagang on Nov. 29, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Great Wall Motors)

The German carmaker group says it churned out 142,617 fully electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids globally in 2018 and aims to boost that count to more than 1 million by the end of 2021.

It also plans to offer 25 electrified models, more than half of which will be fully electric by 2023, the statement said.

Sales of new electric vehicles in China rose 61.7 percent last year over 2017 to 1,256,000 units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers says. Those vehicles include both hybrid and fully electric models.