BMW has a joint venture in China with Great Wall Motor, Spotlight Automotive, with a production site scheduled to be completed this year.
(Image credit: MINI China)
BMW will stop producing the electric version of the MINI hatchback in the UK and move production to China, Bloomberg reported Sunday.
While the MINI plant in Oxford, England, will again produce convertibles starting in 2025, BMW has opted to build electric hatchbacks and a small SUV in China through a partnership with Great Wall Motor, the report said, citing a spokesman.
BMW announced last November that it would begin producing electric MINI vehicles at a new plant in eastern Jiangsu province in 2023.
On October 15, The Times reported that BMW was halting production of electric MINIs at its Oxford plant.
The newspaper quoted Stefanie Wurst, the new head of MINI, as saying that it was inefficient to produce electric and gasoline vehicles on the same production line.
She told the newspaper that when the electric MINIs are built in the UK again, they will be built on an assembly line platform developed by Great Wall, and that the existing lines will be stripped as part of an overhaul at an unspecified future date.
On October 16, Yicai cited BMW China's response that the Oxford plant will suspend electric vehicle production, but will not stop producing MINI models.
Spotlight Automotive, a joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor, will produce the all-electric MINI, the report said, adding that BMW did not respond to the question of whether the electric MINI will be produced only in China.
As the home of the MINI brand, the Oxford, England, plant is the main production site for its models.
The MINI COOPER SE, MINI's first electric vehicle, was born in the Oxford plant and exported to the global market.
Last November, MINI announced that the brand will produce two all-electric models in China in 2023. BMW expects pure electric vehicles to account for 50 percent of MINI's total global sales by 2027.
The MINI brand's last gasoline-powered vehicle will be launched in 2025, and by early 2030, MINI will be the first BMW Group brand to go all-electric.
The production site of Spotlight Automotive, a joint venture between BMW and Great Wall Motor, is located in Zhangjiagang, Jiangsu province, and is scheduled to be completed in 2022.
This is BMW's first pure electric vehicle joint venture project globally, with a planned capacity of 160,000 vehicles per year.
Great Wall Motor has previously said that the cooperation between the two companies is not only at the production level, but also includes joint research and development of pure electric vehicles in the Chinese market, with future MINI pure electric vehicles and new Great Wall Motor products expected to be produced at the facility.
China is the world's largest market for new energy vehicles (NEVs), with wholesale sales of 4.341 million new energy passenger vehicles from January to September, up 115.4 percent year-on-year, according to data released earlier this month by the China Passenger Car Association.
In the first three quarters, the BMW Group delivered 592,873 BMW and MINI vehicles to Chinese customers, with sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) up 65 percent year-on-year, the German luxury carmaker announced on October 10.