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BMW Confirms Plan to Develop, Build Mini EV in China

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BMW AG confirms it will develop and produce an all-electric version of its Mini subcompact car in China.

The company tells reporters at the Geneva auto show that a production location hasn’t been decided but says the EVs could be exported. The verification follows a letter of intent signed by BMW in February to form a carmaking joint venture with Great Wall Motor Co., the only major carmaker in China with no foreign carmaker partner.

The deal will mark the first time Mini cars are made outside Europe, although BMW didn’t say when production would begin. Most Minis are built in Oxford, England. Some models also are manufactured in the Netherlands by contract assembler Nedcar BV.

Local production will be necessary to qualify the Mini EVs for government subsidies in China. Locally sourced batteries and powertrain components also are required to have the vehicles count toward Chinese requirements that so-called new-energy vehicles account for at least 10% of local sales by 2019 and 12% by 2020.

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