With the launch of the MINI Countryman, we saw MINI production move outside of the UK for the first time as Magna Steyr in Austria were contracted to assist with production. This time around, we're hearing rumours that Great Wall is looking to produce MINI for BMW in China, which would make it the first time a MINI product has been produced outside of Europe. This is big news for the German brand as it would strengthen their foothold in China.
As is the nature of setting up a production facility in China, foreign automakers need a local partner. Bloomberg has reported that BMW is in talks with Great Wall to produce these small cars- but for export instead of for the domestic market, which is a rather curious choice. Perhaps MINI isn't popular enough within the Chinese market to justify selling locally, although arguably production costs could be cut greatly if done in China.
Since the announcement of these talks, Great Wall share prices have surged 14%- and as a result they have suspended trading on their stock. If this were to go through, it would join BMW's joint-venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd as production of BMW products within China. Both BMW and MINI sales in China have surged 16% in the first 8 months of the year alone, with 383,976 units moved.