* BMW to double range of China-made cars to six -CFO
* Steps designed "to meet needs" of Chinese buyers -CFO
* China expansion helps diversify sales away from Europe
(Adds detail on new Chinese models and background)
BERLIN, July 16 BMW said on Wednesday
it will raise capacity at its two Chinese plants by a third to
400,000 cars over the next two years, increasing its presence in
the world's largest auto market.
Less than a month after extending its joint venture with
Brilliance China Automotive Holdings until 2028, BMW
said it would double the range of locally-made cars to six.
"We are strengthening our focus on meeting the needs and
aspirations of our Chinese customers," Finance Chief Friedrich
Eichiner said in remarks prepared for delivery in Beijing.
The Munich-based manufacturer will add a new entry model
below the 3-series, a "high-functionality car" designed for
Chinese families and a variant of the X3 offroader, he said.
BMW, which has been working with Brilliance since 2003,
currently builds the X1 offroader as well as long-wheelbase
versions of its 3-series and 5-series cars at the plants in
Dadong and Tiexi.
The German firm is expanding its China operations because it
wants to cut its dependency on the sluggish European market,
which last year accounted for 44 percent of group sales.
Sales of the BMW group in China, including the Mini and
Rolls-Royce brands, surged by almost a quarter in the first six
months to 225,000 cars, compared with a 20-percent gain in 2013
(Reporting by Andreas Cremer; Editing by Maria Sheahan and