BMW’s Partnership with Brilliance at Crossroads in China

BMW and Brilliance China teamed up in 2003, launching BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA) for car production in China. BBA crafts extended models like the long-wheelbase i5, iX1, and a stretched 3 Series Sedan with an electric i3. In 2022, BMW increased its share in the joint venture to 75%, gaining control. Subsequently, the partners extended their collaboration until 2040, underscoring their long-term commitment to automotive innovation.

A recent report suggests potential changes for BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA). Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd is considering selling its 25% stake in BBA, hinting at exiting the joint venture. Automotive News Europe, citing sources close to the matter, indicates that no final decision has been made, leaving the possibility that this move may not materialize.

Brilliance Auto Group Holdings Co., currently facing financial challenges, is undergoing restructuring. This situation might lead them to consider dissolving their 20-year joint venture with BMW.

In 2021, BBA assembled over 700,000 vehicles across its two Chinese plants. Pursuant to their 2022 agreement, the goal is to ramp up production. It’s already been announced that electric cars built on the Neue Klasse platform will launch locally in 2026. Additionally, rumours suggest that a long-wheelbase 2 Series Gran Coupe (F78) might start production there in early 2025.

BBA, employing about 30,000 staff, boasts an annual production capacity of 830,000 units. The joint venture operates BMW’s biggest research and development centre outside Germany in Shenyang, complementing its two car manufacturing plants. Additionally, plans are underway to build a facility for assembling BMW’s sixth-generation round-cell batteries to power the first Neue Klasse-based electric vehicles.

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