Mini was once a quintessentially British brand, but the times when the classic silhouette belonged in the same picture as a Routemaster bus and a bowler hat are long gone. These days, Mini is a lifestyle car brand owned by BMW, and like most automotive firms, the Bavarians are increasingly electrifying their asset’s product lineup. Next to building a fully electric car (from 2019) at its main plant in Oxford in the UK, Mini has just announced that it also plans to build electric cars in China in the future.
To achieve this, the BMW Group has signed a letter of intent with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motors, with the aim of forming a joint venture between the two manufacturers that will see a new electric Mini leave the production lines at a still-to-be-determined location in China in the early 2020s. No decision has yet been made as to whether this car will only be for the Chinese market or if it will also be exported to countries like the Philippines. But the move to increase BMW’s investment in the great red country up north is by no means surprising.
With BMW planning to release 25 new hybrid and fully electric vehicles by 2025, the people behind the blue-and-white roundel will only increase their activities in the region
China is currently BMW’s biggest market, with the company selling almost 600,000 cars there last year. That’s nearly twice the number of vehicles the brand managed to shift in its home country of Germany. This is also not the first time that BMW is teaming up with a Chinese entity, as it has an existing joint venture with the carmaker Brilliance—called BMW Brilliance Automotive—which is not going to be affected by this latest development, according to a press statement from the manufacturer.
There clearly is no end in sight for the drawing power that China wields as a market for carmakers. And with BMW planning to release 25 new hybrid and fully electric vehicles by 2025, the people behind the blue-and-white roundel will only increase their activities in the region, including pushing the Mini brand as an all-electric option for hip city dwellers. If that includes the hip residents of Metro Manila remains to be seen, but more electric cars on our roads would certainly not be a bad thing.