The BMW Group and Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd yesterday officially opened their joint venture plant in Shenyang, capital of Northeast China's Liaoning Province.
Helmut Panke, chairman of the board of management of BMW, said the new plant will play a key role in helping the company realize its ambitious plans for the Asian market as a whole.
The company is planning to increase customer deliveries in Asia to 150,000 cars by the year 2008, up from the 93,000 recorded last year.
The plant, which will produce both BMW 3 series and 5 series models, boasts a manufacturing system and technologies as advanced as those found in other BMW factories around the world.
BMW and Brilliance each hold a 50 per cent share in the BMW Brilliance Automotive Co Ltd joint venture, which was established in July last year.
In the medium term, the joint venture will produce around 30,000 BMW 3 series and 5 series vehicles, employing about 3,000 staff.
"With this plant, we are very well-prepared to meet future challenges here in China," Panke said. "We want to dedicate our efforts to China for the long term.
"I am convinced that together we will make this joint venture a success that both partners will notably benefit from."
In the first four months of this year, the BMW group realized hefty sales growth of 41.4 per cent for its three brands - BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce - in the Chinese market.
Deliveries to customers on the Chinese mainland jumped by 56.7 per cent to 5,827 automobiles.
This figure included 3,877 BMW3 and 5 series models produced locally by the joint venture.
Using assembly lines already in place thanks to the Chinese partner, the joint venture introduced locally made BMW 3 series and 5 series respectively in October and November last year.
Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd Chairman Wu Xiao'an also called the new plant a milestone for his company.
"Our partnership with BMW is a crucial step for Brilliance," Wu said.
"It signals the success of both our strategic partnership and the global vision of our company."