BMW Group and Great Wall Motor Co. started construction on a joint venture plant in the east China city of Zhangjiagang.
Despite lingering coronavirus infections in China, the project is “progressing smoothly,” Great Wall said in a statement.
The 5.1 billion-yuan ($721 million) joint venture, Spotlight Automotive, was incorporated in November 2019 as a 50-50 partnership between BMW and Great Wall.
The new company will pool R&D resources from the two shareholders to develop gasoline and electric vehicles for BMW’s Mini and Great Wall’s proprietary brands, according to the statement.
The plant can produce up to 160,000 vehicles annually, and vehicles will be distributed via separate dealerships under the two automakers’ respective brands, Great Wall noted.
Great Wall didn’t disclose a construction timetable for the plant.
BMW also operates a Chinese joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive in the northeast city of Shenyang.
BMW Brilliance assembles BMW 1-, 3- and 5-Series gasoline sedans as well as the BMW X1, X2 and X3 gasoline crossovers. It also builds a plug-in hybrid compact crossover under the proprietary Zinoro brand.
BMW Brilliance also has started producing the full-electric BMW iX3 compact crossover, which will go on sale in and outside China later this year.