The BMW Group today celebrated the world premiere of the striking new BMW 7 Series in Shanghai, China. The choice of location for the event underlined the significance of the Chinese market for the company’s new flagship model: in 2018, 44% of global BMW 7 Series sales were made to customers in China (ca. 24,500 units). With the current ongoing launch of a whole range of new models, including the BMW 8 Series range and the BMW X7, today’s event was also an opportunity to showcase the BMW Group’s new luxury line-up. China will be a key market for these luxury vehicles.
Speaking at the event, Harald Krüger, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG and his two colleagues Nicolas Peter, Board Member for Finance and Pieter Nota, Board Member for Sales and Brand BMW, also underlined the wide-ranging strategic importance of China for every aspect of the company. China has been the BMW Group’s biggest single sales market since 2013, and the country is also home to the company’s most extensive R&D and production operations anywhere outside Germany.
China accounts for a quarter of BMW & MINI sales
The Shenyang-built seventh-generation BMW 3 Series is set to be one of 25 new BMW Group models due to be launched in China in 2019. China accounted for a quarter of all BMW & MINI customer deliveries in 2018 and with total sales of 639,953 vehicles, last year achieved a 7.7% sales increase. Speaking at today’s event in Shanghai, Harald Krüger confirmed, “In 2019, we are aiming for further solid sales growth in China. The locally-produced BMW X3 will be our main growth driver, in addition to the many new models we will be introducing throughout the year. China is a very important strategic market for us, for sales, innovation and production, now and in the future.”
Seventh model to be localised in China
The Chinese city of Shenyang is home to the BMW Group’s biggest production base outside Germany, with two existing manufacturing plants and an engine plant. Construction work is underway at Plant Tiexi which will double the size of that facility. In Shanghai today, it was announced that the BMW X2 will later this year become the seventh BMW model to go into production in China. This decision was taken in response to demand for the BMW X2, increasing supply of this new Sports Activity Vehicle in addition to those built in Germany at Plant Regensburg. This move will further strengthen the competitiveness of the company’s SAV offering in China, following localisation last year of the BMW X3 and in addition to the locally produced BMW X1. From 2020, the fully-electric BMW iX3 will also roll off the production line at Plant Dadong, its sole production location, and be exported from China to markets worldwide. Both plants are currently undergoing extensive remodelling and expansion measures – once the upgrade and extension is completed, further models could be localised as the total capacity is increased gradually to 650,000 units, thereby creating 5,000 new jobs.
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