Undoubtedly one of the most important markets in the world, China also holds tremendous potential for mobility companies. In addition to BMW and MINI models with “classic” drive trains, electric vehicles are also increasingly popular on Chinese roads. With six electrified models currently available, the BMW Group offers the widest range of products in the premium segment – a good starting point for further expansion of its strategic partnerships in China. The BMW Group is taking various entrepreneurial steps that will sharpen the company’s presence in the Chinese market and create a basis for exporting BMW electric vehicles to other markets.
Demand is high in the Chinese marketplace: A total of around 560,000 BMW brand vehicles were delivered to Chinese customers last year – more than in the next two biggest markets, the US and Germany, combined. Two thirds of all vehicles sold in China were produced locally by BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA).
Even more BMW vehicles will roll off the production lines in China next year, as the BMW Group and BBA increase total capacity to 520,000 units. This will also include production of the fully electric BMW iX3 – with the view to supplying markets outside of China with BBA-built vehicles for the first time. “The next chapter in our collaboration has the potential to take us beyond our existing motto of ‘in China for China’. The fully electric BMW iX3 that BBA will produce from 2020 on will find customers all over the world,” explains Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG.
The BMW Group is taking another important step with its cooperation with Baidu. This will allow the BMW Group to take advantage of Baidu’s open platform “Apollo”, which provides a secure and reliable solution that supports all major functions of an autonomous vehicle. The two companies aim to work together in various projects to advance autonomous driving technology. In the presence of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Baidu and the BMW Group signed a memorandum of understanding that also gives the BMW Group a seat on the Apollo board. Klaus Fröhlich, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, said:“With the BMW Group and Baidu joining forces, we can significantly accelerate the alignment of specific requirements and technological approaches to turn the vision of autonomous driving into reality for Chinese customers very soon.”
But that was not all: The MINI brand will also leverage its global potential in the world’s largest market for electromobility with additional measures. In 2017 alone, MINI delivered around 35,000 vehicles to customers in China. Now, the aim is to expand electromobility at local level.The BMW Group recently signed a contract with Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor to create a new equally-owned joint venture, "Spotlight Automotive Limited", headquartered in China. The merger is designed to further advance development and production of MINI electric vehicles and EVs for Great Wall Motor in China. This is an important step in the strategic development of MINI, as defined in the BMW Group’s Strategy NUMBER ONE > NEXT.
With these measures, the BMW Group is not only opening a new chapter in German-Chinese cooperation, but also sending a clear signal for the future of mobility, based on the principle “production follows the market”. Increased production in the Chinese market should not cause production to decrease at other plants. On the contrary, these measures are designed to boost production and expansion in other markets over the long term and make a clear statement: The BMW Group is NUMBER ONE when it comes to tomorrow’s premium mobility.
There is no disputing that Europe offers a wealth of history and culture. But for many big companies, it is the continent’s geographic location that makes it so attractive, as the ideal central marketplace. Viewed as a whole, Europe is also the BMW Group’s largest production location: a location with major growth opportunities that can strengthen the global balance between production facilities in Asia, the Americas and Europe.
In 1969, when Apollo 11 landed on the moon, the impossible became possible. Today, the BMW Group is about to realise another dream: the dream of autonomous driving. The same principle still applies: Without the knowhow and innovative spirit of scientists, engineers and developers, milestones like these would not be possible. For this reason, the BMW Group, with many other supporters, has founded the BMW Summer School to promote the exchange of innovative ideas among young scientists.