According to reports, BMW are in talks with China’s Great Wall to build the MINI in China, not just for local sales but for export too.
The MINI (or Mini, as it was) is a British icon, and BMW has succeeded in re-inventing it without losing the essential ‘Britishness’ which has made it so successful.
Not only has BMW succeeded in reviving the brand, it has done so almost exclusively in the UK, with its plant in Cowley churning out MINIs for the world (although some are now built in the Netherlands and some assembled in India and Thailand).
Even plans to move production of the new Electric MINI outside the UK came to nothing after BMW confirmed the electric MINI would be built in Cowley (albeit with drivetrains from Germany).
But it’s now looking like MINI is planning to hedge its bets for a distinctly uncertain future post-Brexit, and with the need to build many more expensive EVs, by looking for a partnership in China to build the MINI – and not just for the local market.
According to Bloomberg, BMW are in talks to partner with China’s Great Wall to build MINi in China, and although neither BMW or Great Wall have confirmed the talks, Great Wall’s shares have been suspended after the news caused a sharp rise in their share price.
Great Wall are one Chinese car maker which hasn’t partnered with a Western car maker yet to build cars in China, and the story makes a lot of sense for both Great Wall and MINI.
No doubt we’ll find out just how accurate this is very shortly.