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BMW’s partnership with Chinese automaker Brilliance could potentially spawn a range of joint-developed models with an emphasis on green motoring and potential for export.
The sub-brand tentatively referred to as Zhi Nuo, which translates as “The Promise”, could utilise platforms and technologies from models such models as the X1 and 3 Series already being built at BMW China’s Shenyang plant.
One of the stipulations of overseas automakers building their wares in China is that they produce a new brand aimed at the Chinese market. Another proviso is that a good portion of the models produced under this new banner should feature “new energy” technologies such as EV and hybrid powertrains.
But with the Zhi Nuo brand, BMW China could well be looking further afield. Speaking with Automotive News, BMW global sales head, Ian Robertson intimated that the idea of exporting is currently being tabled.
“Local brands have been largely directed at the domestic market. If I were the auto minister for China, I would say, ‘Well, where are our Hyundai and Kia?’ Out of that, I’m sure a couple will be successful [abroad].”
Although the development is still at a stage of relative infancy, it’s application overseas could potentially resurrect BMW’s idea of producing an eco- (and budget) friendly minicar in a similar vein to its Isetta bubble car from the Sixties.