It seems manufacturers are expecting a boom in small electric vehicles in China. Earlier this year, the Daimler and Geely announced a joint venture to build electric Smart vehicles in the region. Now, BMW Group announced that they will be establishing a 50:50 joint venture with Great Wall Motors to build future fully-electric Mini models in China.
The joint venture goes by the name of Spotlight Automotive Limited. The two automakers will be building a joint plant in the city of Zhangjiagang in China’s Jiangsu Province and is expected to be completed by 2022. The upcoming plant will be responsible for building electric Minis as well as several models for Great Wall Motor. The initial capacity of the plant will be at 160,000 vehicles annually, and it will employ 3,000 staff members.
“Today we are taking the next step in our collaboration: With the BMW Group as a pioneer in the field of electromobility and Great Wall as a major player and expert in industrialization in the Chinese market, we are joining forces for development and production of the future electric MINI and new Great Wall models,” Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
Aside from producing vehicles, the two automakers will also be jointly developing upcoming vehicles. No specific models were mentioned, however, they did say it includes future electric Minis as well as various models for Great Wall Motor and its brands.
Despite opening up a new plant in China, Mini will still continue building models at its main plant in Oxford, United Kingdom. The Oxford plant will continue to build Minis for sale worldwide including the upcoming Cooper SE.
“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, responsible for Finance.