Mini Electric Concept rendering, 2017 Frankfurt auto showEnlarge Photo
The BMW Group is in the requirements phase for its next-generation Mini family and options on the table reportedly include building the cars in China on a platform shared with Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor.
Bloomberg last October reported that BMW was in talks with Great Wall over plans to establish a joint venture to produce Minis in China.
And last week Automobile reported that there will be a shared platform, too. Apparently BMW going it alone on a next-gen Mini family would simply prove too expensive.
Automobile reports that BMW first sought Toyota as a potential partner, as the two already have the Z4/Supra deal and a number of powertrain sharing deals. However, it appears the Great Wall partnership is proving more fruitful.
Volvo and its parent Geely have also partnered on compact car development and production in China, and it's a strategy more automakers are likely to explore as cars sourced from China start to be accepted in more markets.
Should the BMW-Great Wall deal go ahead, BMW is likely to extend the life of its current UKL platform-based Mini family by a couple of years. Automobile reports that the first Mini based on the BMW-Great Wall platform, likely a replacement for the signature Hardtop, would arrive in 2023.
Note, it would also mean that future BMW compact cars could also be sourced from China as these would likely share the same platform and production facilities as the next-gen Mini family.