BMW, Great Wall to open 160,000-capacity China plant

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MUNICH — BMW and its partner, Great Wall Motor, said on Friday that they plan to build a plant in China with a capacity of 160,000 cars a year.

The factory will produce electric cars for BMW’s Mini brand and models for Great Wall.

The 650 million-euro ($716 million) plant is due to be completed in 2022, BMW said in a statement.

The new joint venture, called Spotlight Automotive, will be based in Zhangjiagang near Shanghai and will eventually employ 3,000 people.

Great Wall gained domestic regulatory approval for the plant earlier this month.

Great Wall is China’s top maker of SUVs and pickups. It also builds cars for Ora, an affordable battery-electric vehicle brand in Baoding, the city where Great Wall is based

BMW’s development boss, Klaus Froehlich, said Great Wall was a good local partner because of its expertise in electromobility and industrialization in the Chinese market.

Automakers and suppliers are scrambling to meet tough new Chinese quotas for less polluting cars. Those rules call for electrified vehicles to account for a fifth of total sales by 2025.

BMW follows larger peer Volkswagen Group, which is readying two Chinese factories to build electric cars next year, and which will have a combined production capacity of 600,000 vehicles.

Tesla is aiming for more than 500,000 cars a year by building a new factory in Shanghai.

BMW will start production this month of the first battery-powered Mini at its factory in Oxford, England. Sales will start in the first quarter of 2020.

BMW did not say which Minis will be built in China.

BMW will also produce the full-electric BMW iX3 at its plant in Shenyang, China, starting next year.

Automotive News Europe contributed to this report

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