Vice-Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, Li Keqiang, visited Germany on Saturday 8th January 2011 to find out more about BMW’s plans for electric vehicles in China.
At BMW Welt in Munich, the leader was introduced to the MINI E and the BMW Active E as well as new green technology.
Li Keqiang was shown around the BMW showcase by Dr. Michael Schaefer, German Ambassador to China; Martin Zeil, Bavarian Minister of state for Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology, Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board, BMW AG, and WU Hongbo, Chinese Ambassador to Germany.
BMW is working with a joint venture partner, Brilliance, to introduce electric cars to the Chinese market. Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Norbert Reithofer, said:
“The BMW Group and its partner, Brilliance, are making a joint contribution to sustainable mobility in China. Close and long-standing ties exist between China and the BMW Group. We expect to see a double-digit percentage increase in sales growth in China in 2011, in line with market forecasts.”
An electric-powered BMW 5 Series Long Version was developed as part of the first Sino-German electro-mobility research project in collaboration with Tongji University in Shanghai.
The worldwide MINI E fleet trial will also be extended to the Chinese cities of Beijing and Shenzhen from 2011 onwards. The MINI E will be tested in everyday driving through a consortium made up of the energy partners, State Grid Corporation and Southern Grid, and the China Automotive Technology and Research Corporation (CATARC). The BMW Active E, a fully-electric powered vehicle based on the BMW 1 Series, will also be road tested in China later this year.
The BMW Group has been building BMW 3 Series and 5 Series models at its Chinese facility in Shenyang with its joint venture partner, Brilliance, since 2003.
The company announced the construction of a second production plant in in Tiexi, in the Shenyang region, in November 2009. 560 million euros have been invested in the project, shared equally between the BMW Group and its partner, Brilliance. The BMW X1 will be built at the new plant.
Production is scheduled to begin in 2012 and will create more than 4,000 new jobs in Shenyang over the coming years. This will increase the BMW Group’s annual production capacity in China significantly to more than 150,000 vehicles from 2012 on. Over the long term, the two plants will have the combined potential for 300,000 vehicles a year, depending on market developments.
China is now the BMW’s third-largest market. At the end of November 2010 more than 152,000 vehicles had been sold in China – an increase of 90%. This meant that the company easily exceeded its original sales target for China of approximately 120,000 vehicles.
Growth will come from vehicles like the new BMW X3, the new BMW 6 Series and the MINI Countryman, all of which launch in China this year. In light of the strong market growth in China, the BMW Group will further expand its dealer network in 2011.