BMW to outsource China mini vehicle making to Great Wall


BMW is reportedly in talks with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors to outsource Chinese production of the iconic Mini. It is the country's second-largest premium brand after Volkswagen AG's Audi AG.

Reuters earlier this week reported the two automakers were looking to establish a joint venture in China. That strategy helped propel the company to a 26 percent sales surge a year ago. As a result, names like Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co. and Renault-Nissan have all announced electric vehicle joint ventures in China this year.

The German auto maker said that it was in the midst of strategic development and expansion of its Mini brand, including diversification of partnerships and new cooperation models.

BMW Group sales of electrified vehicles in the first three quarters of 2017 have exceeded those achieved in the whole of 2016; in September, electrified sales topped the 10,000 mark for the first time in a single month.

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"If an agreement were to be reached, we'd expect an arrangement like Denza (Mercedes-BYD), or VW-JAC, Ford-Zotye to be the most plausible outcome, whereby a new brand is used to sell EVs", they said in a note, adding that the vehicles could be sold under the Mini brand. Shares in Brilliance fell on Wednesday.

Great Wall, which does not have any car-making partners, did not make an immediate comment on the report on Wednesday, while BMW also declined to immediately comment.

Last month it struck a deal to secure supplies of lithium, a mineral key for developing electric vehicles. The company suspended trading in the shares on October 12 and September 29 respectively.

The aim of the new partnership is so that BMW can increase production volumes and its market share in the EV segment.