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BMWs in certain markets may be getting a “Made In China” code in their VIN numbers starting at the end of 2011, as the company plans to export Chinese made 5-Series sedans to certain markets.
The Truth About Cars quotes the CEO of BMW’s Chinese operations as stating “We will find some markets, maybe in the Middle East, somewhere in Asia, or some other markets that welcome the products where we can test this export effort. The main market of course is here (in China), because we can’t even supply enough here.”
The 5-Series is built in China as part of a joint venture with Brilliance. TTAC’s China expert Bertel Schmitt claims that the quality of cars built in Chinese/foreign joint ventures is no worse than vehicles built in Japan, America or any other country (and sometimes better). The 5-Series is a popular vehicle in China, with a long-wheelbase version regarded as a status symbol for wealthy Chinese who can afford a driver.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]
BMW will expand its Chinese joint venture with local automaker Brilliance, in an effort to build 300,000 cars per year in China. BMW’s joint venture near Beijing currently builds the 3-Series and 5-Series, and will add the X1 crossover in 2012.
Plans call for new factories dedicated to vehicle assembly, stamping and a paint shop. These plants will be good for an additional 200,000 units according to BMW.
With China now serving as BMW’s third largest market, expanding domestic production makes sense for the brand, with BMW Chaiman Norbert Reithofer noting that “BMW vehicles are very popular in China. We anticipate that this growth will continue in the future.”
[Source: Inside Line]
BMW and Chinese automaker Brilliance have joined forces to create a plug-in hybrid version of the 5-Series long wheelbase sedan sold in the Chinese market.
Set to be revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, the 5-Series plug-in will back an unspecified displacement turbocharged engine making 215 horsepower and a 94 horsepower electric motor. The car can travel 47 miles on pure electric power at a speed of 37 mph. The 5-Series plug-in will be produced in 2013, but it will not be sold in other markets, as the car was specifically designed for the Chinese market and their needs.
It has styled some of the most memorable cars in history, including scores of Ferraris, but more recently the famed design house Pininfarina, has fallen on hard times. It’s been up for sale for several months, though now, might have a potential buyer, in the shape of Bejing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC).
Fueling the speculation that BAIC is in the process of a serious bid for Pininfarina, are quotes from a Chinese website (ee0.com) which said that an unnamed BAIC executive recently returned from Italy where he was in discussion with Pininfarina regarding collaboration on a new car based on the Saab 9-3.
BAIC currently owns the tooling, intellectual property and powertrain technology from the current Saab 9-3, which it purchased from General Motors and is already working on several new cars based on this platform, a new Pininfarina styled 9-3 could be one of them. If such a car does indeed materialize, it will probably make its debut at the 2011 Beijing Auto Show.
However, besides BAIC, that same media website (eeo.com), also reported that other Chinese firms, Anhui Jiangling and Brilliance, have also expressed interest in acquiring Pininfarina, along with India’s Mahindra and Canada’s Magna International. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
[Source: Inside Line]