The BMW Group said that the X1 Sports Activity Vehicle will be made in China sometime in the future. Last Wednesday, Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, was in Beijing. He said that the company is considering choosing the BMW X1 to be one of the first products for its new plant in Tiexi in the Shenyang region.
He shared that BMW is deliberating this idea together with the authorities in China. Currently, the facility produces the BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series models for the market in China. After the launch of the new 5 Series, a successor to the 5 Series Long Wheelbase version will be made and sold only in China.
Expect the new vehicle to begin production in the autumn. The Long Wheelbase version of the 5 Series has reaped much success in China. Over 70,000 vehicles have been sold since 2006. The BMW Group sees the growth opportunities and it has said that in the coming years, it will widen its presence and purchasing activities in China.
Reithofer expressed confidence that the strong growth will be seen within the next few years. He explained that the carmaker's goal is to participate in that growth over the long term. With the new plant in Tiexi, the company will be raising its production capacity in China to 100,000 vehicles a year from 2012.
In the long term, BMW forecasts that the two plants will have a combined potential for as many as 300,000 vehicles a year, depending on market trends. A second production plant in China is planned for November 2009. The investment volume for the new plant amounts to a total of 560 million euros.
The BMW Group and its partner, Brilliance, will each defray half of this amount. Construction work is set to start in early June 2010. Meanwhile, production is planned to begin in 2012. The expanded capacity in Shenyang is expected to create about 1,000 new jobs. To date, 600 new employees have been hired and are currently being prepared for their responsibilities.