BMW might spin off Mini making

Great Wall suspends trading pending clarification of BMW reports

"The discussion and evaluation relating to the feasibility of cooperation between the company and BMW for vehicles of MINI brand is still at preliminary stage, and there are material uncertainties as to whether both parties will officially commence cooperation", the company said in an exchange filing.

German luxury automaker BMW is looking to form a joint venture with Great Wall Motor in China, which could focus on electric vehicles, according to two sources familiar with the matter on Wednesday.

Great Wall, which does not have any car-making partners, did not make an immediate comment on the report on Wednesday, while BMW also declined to immediately comment.

If the JV project moves ahead, it will be BMW's second partnership operation in China.

The two companies are discussing the possible export of Mini brand cars from China to other markets, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

For those unfamiliar with the market, foreign carmakers are required to team up with local partners in China. As a result, names like Volkswagen AG, Ford Motor Co. and Renault-Nissan have all announced electric auto joint ventures in China this year.

BMW 1 Series sedan
The 1 Series sedan BMW selling exclusively in Chinese marketBMW

The talks of an alliance between BMW and Great Wall come at a time when Chinese government is aggressively pushing automakers to switch to alternative fuel vehicles.

The plans were first reported by Shanghai-based www.iautodaily.com earlier on Wednesday.

Last month it struck a deal to secure supplies of lithium, a mineral key for developing electric vehicles.

Trading would be suspended pending clarification of press articles, the company said.

The aim of the new partnership is so that BMW can increase production volumes and its market share in the EV segment.

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