BMW set a global sales record in 2023 when China was by far its largest individual market. A whopping 826,300 cars were delivered last year, and that wasn’t even the highest number ever. In 2021, BMW sold 847,900 vehicles in the country. With that in mind, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the company’s CEO revealed plans for further investments in the People’s Republic. The promise was made by Oliver Zipse during his visit as a member of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s business delegation.

“China is the place to be. Our continued success in the world’s largest automotive market can only go hand in hand with the continuous growth and development of our local footprint in the country.”

The head honcho went on to say BMW’s rising success in China is closely linked to the economic progress achieved during the last three decades. As a reminder, the local BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture was founded back in May 2003. Originally a 50:50 deal, BMW increased its share in the JV to 75% a couple of years ago.

Zipse couldn’t miss the opportunity to talk about the next wave of electric vehicles ushered in by the Neue Klasse. EVs on the dedicated platform will enter production in China in 2026. Designworks’ new studio in Shanghai is already working on models catering to Chinese tastes. The BMW boss mentioned NK-based cars are “not a new chapter in the history of mobility” but rather “a whole new book.”

To prepare for Neue Klasse, BMW Brilliance Automotive is spending RMB 10 billion (about $1.38 billion at current exchange rates). The investment is going into a new battery plant that will create around 2,000 jobs in Shenyang.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual for BBA. It just launched long-wheelbase versions of the new X1 and iX1. These join the stretched X5 along with elongated variants of the 3 Series and 5 Series. The smaller of the two saloons is also sold as a fully electric i3 exclusively in China. An extra-long 2 Series Gran Coupe is due by year’s end or early 2025.

Source: China Daily