BMW’s global sales chief Ian Robertson said that it may export cars assembled under a new brand created with China-based partner Brilliance Automotive intended to serve mature and developing markets. He also said that BMW has yet to select the specific markets outside China where this new brand will be made available.
However, it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of these cars being offered at mature markets like Europe. According to a BMW insider, we will all know what the name of this new brand is later this month at the Shanghai auto show. But reports from Chinese media say that it will bear the local name Zhi Nuo, which is translated as The Promise.
It’s believed that the new BMW-Brilliance brand will base its models on existing BMWs assembled by the partnership at their facility in Shenyang, China, such as the X1 SUV and 3-series sedan. However, Robertson has yet to confirm this. Under Chinese regulations, foreign automakers that produce cars in China must develop a new brand with their local partner.
A fraction of the cars has to use “new energy”, which means that it could either be a hybrid or make use of a full-electric powertrain. Robertson explained that with this rule, global automakers will help local companies build cars that are good enough to set up a Chinese brand abroad.
So far, we’ve seen the launches of Nissan-Dongfeng’s Venucia and Honda-Dongfeng’s Ciimo, which both debuted at the 2012 Beijing auto show. The Ciimo sedan used the previous-generation Honda Civic as its bases. Meanwhile, the Venucia D50 sedan was based on Nissan’s Tiida.