BMW will develop and manufacture electric Mini in China

2016 Mini Cooper IIHS Side Crash Test

Research and development of the next electric Mini will occur in China, BMW board member Peter Schwarzenbauer stated on Tuesday, as the British brand awaits a brand alliance with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor.

BMW announced last month that it had signed a letter of intent with Great Wall, potentially providing the Chinese company its first foreign production partner and the German group’s first Mini assembly site outside Europe.

“It will be developed in China and it will be produced in China, however we have no idea where yet,” Schwarzenbauer told press reporters ahead of the Geneva auto show, which opened to the media on Tuesday. “The automobile might likewise be exported.”

So far BMW has depended on its research and development facilities in Germany to produce the present Mini. More rigid regional policies, nevertheless, are forcing a shift of copyright to China.

“You need to have particular elements localised. In the new energy vehicles regulation, the drivetrain and the battery technology needs to be sourced locally,” Schwarzenbauer stated, adding that BMW Group would depend on its existing sales partnerships to sell the vehicle.

BMW’s own electric car, which is built and developed in Germany, is not qualified for regional subsidies since it does not have components sourced in China, Schwarzenbaer stated.

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