Saturday, 16 December, 2017

BMW, Great Wall in Talks to Roll Mini Into China

Nellie Chapman | 13 October, 2017, 17:31

The prospective deal focuses specifically on electric vehicles, according to sources familiar with the matter. Talks with BMW are still at a preliminary stage and it is uncertain whether the cooperation will commence, the Chinese auto maker said.

The German vehicle 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 is now considering another joint venture in China so that it can increase its production volumes and strengthen its electric vehicle presence in the market.

Great Wall did not specify if the new venture would make traditional gasoline-powered Mini models or electric ones, though it did say that some output could eventually be exported. It added they entered another agreement in February this year to evaluate the feasibility of cooperation for vehicles under the Mini brand. The German carmaker now has a joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holding, with the contract to expire by 2028.

"I don't know how far along we have gone nailing this deal", or whether the two companies have official central government approval for the venture, the BMW executive said.

Subsequently, Hyundai was also linked as a buyer to Jeep brand. Local media speculation of a tie-up with BMW sent its shares soaring 14% Wednesday, prompting suspension in trading.

Patrick Yuan, an analyst at Jefferies Hong Kong, said it is understandable that BMW needs a new partner to defend its market share in a more competitive market.

Trading would be suspended pending clarification of press articles, the company said.