BMW AG (BMW.XE) plans to diversify partnerships to grow its Mini brand in China, the company said following reports that it was in talks with Chinese car maker Great Wall Motor Co. (GWLLY) to outsource manufacturing of its iconic Mini cars.
The German car maker said that it was in the midst of strategic development and expansion of its Mini brand, including diversification of partnerships and new cooperation models. "Leveraging the growth of Mini in China is only possible with a local partner," the company said.
BMW said that this approach did not put into question its commitment to Mini factories in the U.K. The company also said that it wants to expand its business with its existing joint-venture partner BMW Brilliance Automotive (BCAUY) in China.
Great Wall Motor said on Friday that it hasn't signed an agreement with BMW, but said that the two companies signed a confidential agreement in February to discuss cooperation in the production of Minis. Talks with BMW are still at a preliminary stage and it is uncertain whether the cooperation will commence, the Chinese car maker said.
Great Wall halted trading of its shares in Hong Kong early Thursday, after media speculation that the two companies could form a joint venture resulted in a rise in its shares.
Write to Max Bernhard at Max.Bernhard@dowjones.com; @mxbernhard
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
October 13, 2017 08:09 ET (12:09 GMT)