November 22, 2019 / 12:40 PM / 15 days ago

CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-China's Great Wall Motor wins approval for BMW car plant

(Corrects Great Wall sales figure, paragraph 2)

* BMW and Great Wall proceed with plans to build China factory

* Carmaking duo to develop low-cost new energy vehicle

BEIJING, Nov 22 (Reuters) - China’s Great Wall Motor has gained domestic regulatory approval to build a factory in China together with BMW, it said on Friday, paving the way for the German carmaker to develop and build a low-emission Mini.

Since February 2018 BMW, which sells a little more than 2 million cars a year, and Chinese SUV manufacturer Great Wall, which sold more than 1 million vehicles last year, have tried to share the costs of building a low-cost electric vehicle on a joint platform to be used by both brands, but the project ran into regulatory hurdles.

The project, with total investment of 5.1 billion yuan ($724.4 million), will have annual capacity of 160,000 combustion engine cars for export, Great Wall said in a Shanghai Stock Exchange filing.

The filing said plant construction will begin next year and be completed in 2022, but the company added that capacity for new energy vehicles has yet to be approved by authorities.

BMW declined to comment.

The two manufacturers had envisaged building low-emission vehicles in China, but a trade dispute between China and the United States had led BMW executives to freeze plans for the creation of a Chinese export hub.

“We have no basis for taking a decision at the moment. Whether this is financially viable and whether it makes sense needs to be evaluated,” BMW’s Chief Executive told journalists at the Geneva car show in March. ($1 = 7.0407 Chinese yuan renminbi) (Reporting by Yilei Sun in Guangzhou and Brenda Goh in Beijing Editing by David Goodman)

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