BMW AG is set to increase the number of cars planned to be built in China by twice as the current one in order to boost its sales to the middle class purchasers who do not have personal chauffeurs.
The German automaker will produce six models, adding to its current cars a front-wheel drive 2-series Active Tourer minivan, an FWD sedan below the 3 series and a variant of the RWD/AWD X3 compact SUV.
Karsten Engel, BMW’s China chief said that “The (China-only) long-wheelbase versions of the 5 series remains our best-seller with over a third of our China sales, but we see a growing number of customers new to the brand that do not have a chauffeur and drive their cars themselves.”
The production of the 2-series Active Tourer will start in 2016, followed by the sedan in 2017 and the X3 at a date in the future that remains yet to be announced. These cars will be manufactured in northeastern China, in BMW’s factory in Tiexi, west of Shenyang. The Tiexi plant was opened in 2012 and it is currently building the X1 compact SUV and the 3-series sedan in standard and long-wheelbase variants.
In order to add three models to the production, BMW is expanding its combined capacity between Tiexi and Dadong from 300,000 at the moment to 400,000 by 2017. Locally manufactured models represent 2/3 of BMW sales in China last year that summed up 425,765 models. BMW will also add full engine production to the Tiexi complex, set to begin at the beginning of 2016.
By Gabriela Florea