German luxury automotive manufacturer BMW has announced a partnership with Chinese automotive manufacturer Great Wall Motor which will see the two move forward to build a joint electric vehicle plant in China where they will produce fully-electric models of its Mini brand.
The BMW Group and Great Wall Motor said the joint venture, Spotlight Automotive, will built an EV manufacturing plant that will boast a standard capacity of up to 160,000 vehicles per year and require approximately 3,000 employees after ramp-up.
Both companies are committing to invest €650 million ($A1.05 billion) and construction is set for between 2020 and 2022.
The Spotlight Automotive plant will focus on the production of fully-electric Mini vehicles as well as several Great Wall Motor models and brands.
The launch of the brand-new, first-generation, fully-electric Mini in July has been followed by subsequent details – including a launch in Australia from mid-2020 – with delivery expected from the company’s Oxford manufacturing facility in March 2020.
“Today we are taking the next step in our collaboration: With the BMW Group as a pioneer in the field of electromobility and Great Wall as a major player and expert in industrialisation in the Chinese market, we are joining forces for development and production of the future electric Mini and new Great Wall models,” said Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, responsible for Development.
The announcement took place in the city of Zhangjiagang in China’s Jiangsu Province, the future location of the new automotive plant, and was attended by high-level representatives from BMW Group, Great Wall Motor, and the local Chinese Government.
As well as production, the Spotlight Automotive Limited plant will also develop battery-electric vehicles in what is believed to be the world’s largest market for electromobility.