BMW Brilliance yesterday unveiled the BMW 325i, which it is billing as China's first domestically made luxury car, in Shanghai, setting up a benchmark for China's luxury car manufactures.
BMW Brilliance is the joint venture between Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd, China's largest minivan maker, and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, the world's second-largest maker of luxury cars.
The BMW 325i is part of the BMW 3-series, which is BMW's best seller worldwide.
But most parts of the BMW 3-series are still imported.
Refusing to reveal what percentage of parts of the car are made in China, Vice President of BMW Brilliance Li Donghui admitted that the percentage of domestically made parts is below 40 percent. That level is used by the Chinese government as a criteria to charge cars with tax at imported units instead of imported parts.
According to Franz Stefan Jung, vice president of BMW Brilliance, the company will introduce the BMW 530 to China by the end of next month. There is no plan to produce BMW's new 7-series here so far.
"We will manufacture 2,000 to 2,500 BMW 325i in our production center in Shenyang, Liaoning Province by the end of this year, and raise the production capacity to 10,000 to 11,000 in 2004," said Jung, adding the company plans to make as many as 30,000 units annually in the future.
The company also intends to increase its number of dealerships from 23 to 40.
Priced at 473,850 yuan (US$57,090), the BMW 325i will be a hit with locals, the company predicts.
"The launch of the domestically made BMW 325i may slightly affect the import of BMW 3-series and 5-series, but the business operation of the 7-series will not be affected," said S.S. Tang, chairman of Shanghai Bowdex Motor Co Ltd.
(Shanghai Daily October 17, 2003)