China: An electric car to be built on command

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BMW to develop electric car for Chinese market

BMW is legendary for its engineering – Mercedes may build more expensive cars and Porche builds fast sports cars and Volkswagen builds, well you know the build cars that are not terribly fast or terribly expensive.  But BMW builds cars, great cars, fast cars.  And now it is going to build an electric car, not because it wants to build one, but because China has told it to build one.  China has a plan – actually it probably has lots of plans, one for every major industry.  Now BMW does not have to do what China says, unless of course, it wants access to that billion plus market then following directions is part of the price of entry.  Here is the direct quote from the German press on the subject, it is worth remembering we may just read the same words again and again as China flexes its consumer muscle.

“It will be a purely Chinese brand. It will have no connection with the BMW brand,” board member Friedrich Eichiner told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Otherwise there would be a risk of brand dilution.  According to the newspaper, BMW has been under pressure from the Chinese authorities to agree to the creation of new brand. All Western manufacturers have been told that they must develop brands specifically for the Chinese market in order to be allowed to build new factories in the country. Another condition is that the foreign companies cooperate with a Chinese company.  Volkswagen has already made plans for a hybrid automobile called the Kaili, while Daimler has also announced that is planning an electric car in partnership with Chinese carmaker BYD.  BMW will work with its Chinese partner Brilliance to create a brand for the so-called “New Energy Vehicles,” which are named in the country’s latest five year plan as a strategic industry. The Local, 9-10-11


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