Munich, Germany – BMW has announced it will produce its X1 sports activity vehicle in China for that market, alongside the 3 Series and 5 Series models it produces for domestic sales.

“The BMW X1 could be one of the first products for our new plant in Tiexi in the Shenyang region,” said Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the board of management. “We are currently exploring this possibility together with the authorities here in China.”

Following the launch of the new 5 Series, a successor to the long-wheelbase version will also be produced and sold only in China. More than 70,000 units of the current long-wheelbase 5 Series have been sold since 2006.

“We are confident that this market will continue to see strong growth over the next few years,” Reithofer said. “Our goal is to participate in that growth over the long term. With our new plant in Tiexi, we will be increasing our production capacity in China to 100,000 vehicles a year from 2012. Over the long term, we anticipate the two plants having combined potential for as many as 300,000 vehicles a year, depending on market trends. We may realistically need this potential over the long term.”

The BMW Group announced that it would build a second production plant in China in November 2009. Construction is scheduled to begin in early June 2010, with start of production slated for 2012.

China is currently BMW’s fourth-largest market worldwide, with more than 90,000 vehicles sold in mainland China last year. In the first quarter of 2010, the company delivered 34,179 vehicles. In 2002, before its plant in Shenyang was built, BMW’s retail volume in mainland China was just under 6,700 vehicles.

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