Published: Fri, October 13, 2017
Business | By Max Garcia

Jeep not for sale; Great Wall mulls a joint venture with BMW

The two companies are discussing the possible export of Mini brand cars from China to other markets, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. China wants electric and hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of the country's auto sales by 2025 and plans to loosen joint-venture regulations to achieve the target.

The Mini brand's planned expansion in China "does not call into question our commitment to our facilities in Britain", BMW said in a statement.

Luxury German carmaker BMW is in talks to produce its Mini models in China in partnership with Great Wall Motor Co., the Chinese carmaker said on Friday.

Association with Great Wall would see increase in both BMW's production volume and its EV share in one of the largest automobile industry in the world. Talks with BMW are still at a preliminary stage and it is uncertain whether the cooperation will commence, the Chinese vehicle maker said. But China's state planner has said that in principal it will not approve any new foreign joint ventures involving traditional gas-powered cars because the market is already oversupplied.

"If an agreement were to be reached, we'd expect an arrangement like Denza (Mercedes-BYD), or VW-JAC, Ford-Zotye to be the most plausible outcome, whereby a new brand is used to sell EVs", they said in a note, adding that the vehicles could be sold under the Mini brand. The company suspended trading in the shares on October 12 and September 29 respectively. The company's shares will resume trading in Hong Kong on October 16, according to the statement.

Great Wall, which does not have any car-making partners, did not make an immediate comment on the report on Wednesday, while BMW also declined to immediately comment.

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