The future of a plant in Brazil that manufactures the Mini Cooper's engine is up in the air. The plant is owned by Tritec Motors Ltda., a joint venture of BMW AG and DaimlerChrysler AG.
After the joint venture expires in 2007, "there are many options," says Jochen Schaefers, a DaimlerChrysler spokesman. "Selling is one possibility. Another is to enhance the joint venture."
The New York Times reported that a minor Chinese automaker, the Lifan Group, is talking to Tritec about buying the engine manufacturing line. Schaefers said, "I can't confirm that we are in talks with any Chinese business."
Late this year, the Mini Cooper will switch to a four-cylinder direct-injection gasoline engine codeveloped by BMW and PSA/Peugeot-Citroen SA.
Established in 1996, Tritec makes 1.4- and 1.6-liter gasoline engines in Campo Largo, Brazil. Capacity is 400,000 a year. The engines also are installed in the Chrysler PT Cruiser in Europe, South Africa and other markets.
You may e-mail Charles Child at [email protected]