BMW says needs local partner to accelerate Mini growth in China

BMW is looking to expand its presence in China to build EVs potentially with Great Wall Motors

BMW AG is working on a deal to outsource the manufacturing of Mini cars in China to Great Wall Motor Co, the country's biggest SUV maker, according to people with knowledge of the plan.

John Zeng, managing director of LMC Automotive Shanghai, said the possible partnership might be dedicated to electric Mini cars. Ltd. said Friday that it is in talks for a joint venture to make BMW's Mini auto models in China, ending days of speculation that had sparked a rally for the Chinese company's shares.

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. Rolls-Royce however, saw a decrease in sales of 10.7 percent to 2,343 units, but it's worth noting the Phantom is missing from the brand's lineup now as the new model is getting ready to roll out starting next year.

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"We are in discussions with Great Wall about setting up a joint venture to produce cars in Changshu", said a BMW executive, who was not authorised to speak on the matter.

"Our business development with the joint venture BMW Brilliance Automotive will continue as planned, and we will carry on to invest and develop our joint venture." a spokesman for BMW said, declining to comment on any new joint venture. Great Wall would fit the bill as it is one of the biggest vehicle brands in China today. Unfortunately, no official confirmed the news when reached out to for comments and it remains to be seen if this report holds any water or not. 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.

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