BMW AG confirms it will open a factory with partner Great Wall Motor Co. to make electric Mini-brand cars in Zhangjiagang.
The companies first announced plans for the 50:50 venture, dubbed Spotlight Automotive Ltd., early last year. The facility is expected to begin operations in 2022 with about 3,000 employees and initial capacity to build 160,000 all-electric Mini cars per year.
The two companies each are investing €650 million ($716 million) in Spotlight Automotive, which also will jointly develop new EVs. BMW also will produce all-electric Minis at the brand’s home plant in Oxford, England. Those cars will go on sale in early 2020.
Once the playground of exotic car makers, the definition of a niche vehicle has expanded to include image vehicles for mainstream OEMs, and specialist models produced on high-volume platforms.
Here's an overview of the study of assembly plant productivity that gets the undivided attention of all automakers: "The Harbour Report." Although the Big Three companies are getting better, they still have a way to go. But given the levels of competition, better won't be good enough for some plants, it seems.
Many countries who once were major players from a vehicle production/export perspective are finding it difficult to even find their niche today.