BMW says production starts at new China plant

BMW says production starts at new China plant

Germany's BMW said on Thursday that production had started at a new plant in China with an investment of 15 billion yuan US $2.24 billion as the carmaker accelerates electric vehicle EV production.

The Lydia plant, BMW's third car assembly facility in China, located in northeastern city of Shenyang, Liaoning province, will increase BMW's annual output in the world's biggest auto market to 830,000 vehicles from 700,000 in 2021, the company said.

The plant is designed to be capable of producing battery-powered electric cars only based on market demand, according to BMW's flexible manufacturing lines.

The first model that will be rolled off the Lydia plant's production lines is the i 3, a pure electric mid-sized sports sedan, BMW said, increasing the range of its EV models for Chinese customers to 13 next year.

The Chinese automakers such as BYD dominate the booming EV market in China, with sales more than doubled from a year ago. The kings of the internal combustion engine age such as Volkswagen and General Motors are falling behind.

Nearly a quarter of the cars sold in China in the first five months of this year were powered by batteries, according to data from the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers.

In the first quarter, BMW sold 208,507 vehicles in China, its biggest market, marking a 9.2 per cent drop from a year ago, according to a company filing.