BMW and Brilliance joined forces in 2003 to form a 50:50 joint venture to produce cars in China. BBA’s Shenyang factory is the largest BMW plant in the world and is responsible for many vehicles sold in China. Relevant examples include the 1 Series Sedan, 3 Series Sedan (standard and long wheelbase), and the stretched 5 Series Sedan. The X1 LWB crossover is also built there, along with the X2 and X3. The first car manufactured there and sold outside of the People’s Republic is the iX3.
Effective immediately, BMW has acquired a majority stake in the joint venture with Brilliance by increasing its shareholding to 75%. The request made by BMW Brilliance Automotive has received the necessary business license from the Chinese authorities. According to the automaker, the decision should improve its financial result by up to eight billion euros (9.1 billion dollars). BMW estimates a one-off increase in free cash flow at five billion euros (5.7 billion dollars). The company will disclose precise figures in the coming weeks.
In related news, BMW and Brilliance have extended their joint venture contract until 2040. It stipulates an increase in production compared to last year when BBA assembled more than 700,000 cars. The two companies have also decided to boost output in order to meet strong customer demand. The Shenyang facility is currently being expanded to add more production capacity. In addition, a new factory is being built in the Tiexi district.
The BMW i3 Sedan Is Coming
BBA currently has approximately 23,000 employees and will continue to assemble China-only models, plus the iX3. BMW and Brilliance will also add new EVs to the assembly line for the local market, but details are unknown for the time being. However, we are fairly certain one of them will be the i3. The namesake hatchback is being retired globally, but the moniker will be repurposed for an electric 3 Series Sedan Long Wheelbase.
BBA has spent more than 10 billion euros (11.4 billion dollars) in the last 10 years. Additional investments are planned to add production capacity and increase the number of models assembled.