Despite China’s car sales falling for nine months, BMW continues to bet on the Chinese market and its fast growing middle class. At a roundtable with journalists from around the world, Pieter Nota, Board of Management of BMW AG, Customer, Brands, Sales, emphasized once again the importance of the Chinese market where BMW has shown a 10 percent sales growth in the Q1 of 2019. The new BMW X3 which is also produced in China has contributed significantly to the sales growth and with the launch of the BMW 3 Series long wheelbase, the trend is expected to continue.
Without being very specific in his predictions, Mr. Nota says that a mid-to-high single digit growth is expected for the rest of the quarters in China.
“We are confident that we will continue to see growth in the premium segment of the auto market, driven by China’s growing middle class,” he told BMWBLOG.
Electro-mobility remains strategically important for BMW in China, considering its position as the leading market for electric cars. The plug-in hybrid from BMW are top sellers in China, leading the way is the 530 long wheelbase model. In the second half of 2020, BMW will begin production of their first fully-electric SUV – the iX3 – which will be produced by the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA).
BBA is increasing the capacity of its two local production facilities Tiexi and Dadong in Shenyang, Liaoning Province, to a total of 520,000 BMW brand vehicles in 2019.
Furthermore, the all-electric BMW iX3 produced by BBA is planned for export to markets outside of China.
BMW also continues forward with their plans of building a MINI electric car in China. The co-development with Chinese partner Great Wall will be focused around a new platform, but no further details are offered at this point.
Mr. Nota further added that 25 percent of BMW’s global sales come from China, where the company has also heavily invested in a Research & Development center, which is now the second largest after Germany.