Founded in 2003, the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture is in a festive mood after reaching an important production milestone. This long-wheelbase 5 Series Sedan is the six-millionth car assembled in China. It’s a fully electric i5 finished in Frozen Pure Grey, a matte color from the Individual catalog. The EV was assembled Dadong, one of the three factories in China where BBA also builds vehicles at its plants in Tiexi and Lydia.

Looking at the sales figures, China is BMW’s largest single market as 824,832 cars were sold there last year. The automaker needed only a little over a year to build one million vehicles since the five-million mark was reached in February 2023. China is the only place where BMW builds the iX3 crossover and i3 sedan as well as multiple long-wheelbase models. The 3 Series and 5 Series sedans have an elongated wheelbase, as do the X1 and X5 SUVs.

BMW increased its share in the joint venture with Brilliance from the initial 50% to 75% in early 2022. Work is already underway to prepare the Chinese sites for the assembly of next-generation EVs on the Neue Klasse platform. All three BBA factories already have the tooling to produce zero-emission cars and will build NK-based models from 2026.

One of the five battery plants to be built globally by BMW will be in Shenyang. This is where sixth-generation batteries with round cells are going to be assembled. Pre-production is scheduled to commence before the end of 2024. The new cells will have 20% higher energy density and will support a 30% increase in charging speed thanks to an 800-volt architecture. In addition, NK-based EVs will deliver a 30% longer range.

The new BMW Designworks Shanghai Studio is already working on EVs specifically tailored to Chinese customer tastes. For the time being, the company isn’t revealing which models will be designed and built locally. We’re expecting the usual mix of sedans and SUVs. In China, BMW operates multiple R&D centers based in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Nanjing.

Source: BMW