BMW and its Chinese partner Brilliance are to invest up to £450 million to build a new plant in China and extend the BMW range.
The car market in China is seen as the big future for car makers. Rising at a tremendous rate (up 75% this year) China is a place car makers need to do business if they are to survive. We reported yesterday that Volvo’s putative owner Geely plan a new factory in China to help double Volvo’s sales; Saab are planning on building the 9-5 in China; VW has recently celebrated 5 million sales in China. The list goes on.
And now it’s BMW’s turn to up its stake in China with the announcement that they are to invest £450 million in conjunction with their Chinese partner Brilliance to construct a new plant to make an extra 10o,000 BMWs a year. They will also increase production in their existing plant from 30,000 to 75,000.
But it’s not just a new production plant – there will also be new models. The new plant is expected to produce long wheelbase versions of the 3 Series, which would be a China-only model to address the criticisms in China of a lack of rear leg room in the model. Also on the cards is production of the BMW X1 and the BMW X3 and an extended wheelbase 5 Series.
BMW Brilliance is already the eighth biggest car maker in China. This new investment will push them a rung or two up the ladder.