BMW and Great Wall Motor have just confirmed their new partnership which revolves around the manufacturing of MINI E vehicles in China. The new joint venture, Spotlight Automotive Limited will operate a plant with a capacity of up to 160,000 vehicles per year. The plant will require around 3,000 employees after the ramp-up phase. Both partners will together invest around 650 million Euro (more than five billion CNY). The construction phase is planned for 2020 to 2022.
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The joint venture envisages production of future electric MINI vehicles, as well as several models and brands for Great Wall Motor. The recently unveiled MINI Cooper SE will also continue to be built at the Oxford plant in the UK. The Spotlight Automotive joint venture will provide additional capacity and flexibility.
Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development, said at the official ceremony to mark the inauguration of Spotlight Automotive: “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 industrialisation in the Chinese market, we are joining forces for development and production of the future electric MINI and new Great Wall models.”
During the press conference following the ceremony, Dr. Nicolas Peter, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Finance, stressed the strategic importance of the cooperation with the Chinese partner: “This German-Chinese relationship underscores our commitment to China and the future of premium compact electrified 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. 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.”
Zhangjiagang was chosen as the location of the Spotlight plant because of its solid supplier network, skilled workforce and good infrastructure. Jiangsu is also one of the leading provinces for finance, education and technology.
The joint venture will not be creating an additional sales organization in China for future electric vehicles. Every joint venture partner will use their own sales channel for their specific brands.