Published on May 6th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
BMW Targets China With 2-Series Active Tourer
BMW will double the number of cars it builds in China to six to increase sales to middle class buyers who don’t have chauffeurs. BMW will add production of the front-wheel drive 2-series Active Tourer minivan and a fwd sedan below the 3 series, likely badged a 1 series. The third model will be a variant of the rwd/awd X3 compact SUV.
BMW’s China chief, Karsten Engel, said: “The (China-only) long-wheelbase version of the 5 series remains our best-seller with over a third of our China sales, but we see a growing number of customers new to the brand that do not have a chauffeur and drive their cars themselves.”
BMW will begin local production of the 2-series AT next year, followed by the sedan in 2017 and the X3 at a future date to be announced. The cars will be built in BMW’s factory in Tiexi, west of Shenyang in northeastern China. The 2-series AT and sedan are underpinned by BMW’s new UKL fwd architecture shared with Mini.
Opened in 2012, Tiexi builds the X1 compact SUV and the 3-series sedan in standard and long-wheelbase variants. Tiexi is also part of the joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings. The joint venture’s first joint venture factory in Dadong, northeast of Shenyang, opened in 2003 to build a China-only long-wheelbase variant of the 5-series sedan. The plant this year added a plug-in variant of the long-wheelbase 5 series.
To add three models, BMW is expanding its combined Tiexi and Dadong production capacity to 400,000 units by 2017 from 300,000 now and about 285,000 units built last year.
Locally manufactured models account for about two-thirds of BMW’s 425,765 China sales last year, Engel said. BMW is also adding complete engine production to the Tiexi complex, which is set to start production at the beginning of next year. The plant will have a capacity of 300,000 engines a year, starting with the new 2.0-liter, four-cylinder gasoline unit that debuted on the 2-series AT, followed later by the 1.5-liter, three-cylinder already offered on the revamped 1 series.
“This will be the first time BMW will have a engine casting complex outside of Germany,” said Ian Robertson, BMW board member in charge of BMW marketing and sales.