BMW and its Chinese partner Brilliance Automobile will launch a new electric vehicle brand in China as required by the local government.
BMW’s head of sales and marketing Ian Robertson confirmed a German newspaper report from September, saying that the two parties are required by the Chinese government to found a new brand. “We will have a new brand, it’s a legislative requirement,” Robertson told Automotive News Europe at the Tokyo auto show. He added the EVs made for China will benefit from some of the green powertrains currently under development at BMW.
The BMW executive didn’t offer further details on the future EV models for China or on the powertrains they might use. Until now, BMW has collaborated with Brilliance on a plug-in hybrid 5-Series concept, premiered at the 2011 Shanghai auto show.
Robertson explained that Chinese governement’s requirements are motivated by its desire to grow exports. “The Chinese auto market is the biggest in the world, but what they haven’t really got is an international brand with Chinese origin. I think there will be a requirement of globalization of a Chinese brand,” Robertson said. BMW will launch its i3 full-electric city car in 2013 and the i8 plug-in hybrid supercar in 2014.