German luxury car maker BMW plans to build a research and development (R&D) center in China for its vehicles to better meet the fast-growing demand in the Chinese auto market, now the world’s biggest, China Daily reported today.
The R&D center in the northeastern city of Shenyang, where BMW runs a joint venture with Brilliance China Auto, will be one of the German carmaker’s key R&D facilities globally. BMW is now finalizing details of the plan, said Christoph Stark, president and CEO of BMW Group Region China.
“We will have bigger production here in China, so we will modify more vehicles (to meet customer demands better),” he said. The China R&D center will also be able to provide feedback to decision-makers and designers at BMW’s global headquarters in Munich, he added.
BMW plans to boost its production capacity in China to 300,000 vehicles from last year’s 41,000 units. Its joint venture with Brilliance will start capacity expansion this year and later a new plant will be built. BMW Brilliance will also build an engine factory.
Last year, BMW saw its sales in China grow 38% to a record 90,536 vehicles. The sales, which made China BMW’s 4th-largest market in the world, included 43,702 locally manufactured BMW 3-Series and 5-Series sedans.
Stark said BMW will introduce many new products in China this year, such as the all-new locally produced long-wheelbase 5-Series and the imported X1 compact SUV.