BMW and Chinese Partner to Invest in Expansion

Will expand capacity of plant in China and build an engine facility

BMW and its Chinese partner will invest five billion yuan (US$32 million) to expand production capacity in the world's biggest car market, the German auto maker said on Nov. 12.

The long-term injection by BMW and its joint venture partner Brilliance Auto Group will take their total investment in China to 9.5 billion yuan. The influx of capital will be used to boost the production capacity of an existing plant at Shenyang in northeastern China, and to build an engine facility.

BMW said this week that sales in China of its own-name and Mini-brand autos soared 81% in October from a year earlier to a monthly record of 9,558 units, without providing a comparative figure for 2008. That compares with an anaemic 2% increase in overall global sales.

China sales in the January-October period jumped 36.7% to 71,952 units from 52,622 units a year earlier.

China's total car sales outstripped those in the U.S. for the first time in January to make the Asian giant the world's largest car market, helped by Beijing's efforts to stimulate domestic consumption. These measures included slashing taxes on cars with engines smaller than 1.6 liters and subsidising alternative-energy vehicles.

China's auto sales rose 72.5% in October from a year ago to 1.23 million units, an industry body said this week, the eighth straight month that sales exceeded the one million unit mark.

For the first 10 months of the year, sales rose 37.7% on-year to 10.89 million, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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