BMW said Thursday that manufacturing has officially begun at a new facility in China with an investment of 15 billion yuan ($2.24 billion) as the automaker increases the manufacture of electric vehicles (EVs).
The Lydia factory, BMW’s third automobile assembly facility in China, located in the northeastern city of Shenyang, Liaoning province, would raise BMW’s annual output in the world’s largest auto market from 700,000 to 830,000 vehicles by 2021, according to the firm.
BMW stated that the plant’s flexible production lines are designed to solely produce battery-powered electric vehicles in response to market demand.
BMW stated that the i3, a pure electric midsize sports sedan, will be the first model to roll off the Lydia plant’s production lines, expanding the company’s lineup of electric vehicles (EV) for Chinese consumers to thirteen models in 2019.
Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and Chinese automakers like BYD lead the expanding EV industry in China, where sales have more than doubled in the past year. Kingmakers of the internal combustion engine era, like General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG p), are slipping behind.
According to the China Association of Automotive Manufacturers, during the first five months of this year, over a quarter of the cars sold in China were battery-powered.
According to a business filing, BMW sold 208,507 automobiles in China, its largest market, during the first quarter, a decrease of 9.2 percent from the same period last year.