BMW to build ‘New Class’ in China and goes boating in Cannes

As already mentioned earlier, BMW will launch its dedicated electric ‘new class’ of cars in 2025, with initial production in Europe and also in the United States. Today, the Munich car manufacturer announced that the ‘Neue Klasse’ will also be built in China.

Meanwhile, the Group showed off on another level in Cannes (where the film festival is ongoing), showing a water vessel named ‘The Icon’ in collaboration with boat maker Tyde.

€1,3 billion investment in China

To mark the 20th anniversary of the BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. (BBA) joint venture, Milan Nedeljković, a board member at BMW AG responsible for Production, announced local production of the ‘Neue Klasse’ in China today. Following the market launch in 2025, models of the next vehicle generation will also be produced from 2026 onward by BBA in Shenyang.

The high-voltage batteries required for this will likewise be manufactured locally. The virtual ground-breaking for a new assembly site for high-voltage batteries also took place as part of the anniversary celebrations. BBA is investing 10 billion yuan in the new location, producing battery cells for the next sixth generation of high-voltage batteries from 2026 onward.

“From a small assembly facility with limited units, our plants in Shenyang have developed into our largest production location worldwide,” declared Milan Nedeljković in Shenyang. “Today, 20 years after our joint venture’s initial start of production, I am delighted to announce local production of the ‘Neue Klasse’ in China.”

“Integration of this New Class into our production in China goes hand in hand with constructing a high-voltage battery assembly for the next, sixth generation of batteries and will significantly contribute to further electrification of our line-up and, therefore, to our success as a company.” More than half the vehicles the BMW Group sells worldwide should be fully electric before 2030.

Currently, the BMW Group produces electronic components and high-voltage batteries for its current electric vehicles at its German sites in Dingolfing, Leipzig, and Regensburg, as well as at the Shenyang location in China. In addition to Shenyang, new assembly sites for sixth-generation high-voltage batteries will be added in Debrecen (Hungary), San Luis Potosí (Mexico), and Woodruff near Spartanburg (USA) in the next few years.

These batteries will be used in the models of the ‘Neue Klasse’. The company also plans to establish a new location in Germany to supply its Bavarian vehicle plants with sixth-generation high-voltage batteries going forward.

20 years of BBA

The BMW Group has been present in the Chinese market since 1994 and founded the BMW Brilliance Automotive joint venture in May 2003. Over the past 20 years, the BMW Group has continuously expanded its activities in China, and production capacity in Shenyang has increased from 30 000 to 830 000 units. BBA currently produces seven model ranges, with fully-electric, plug-in hybrid, and internal combustion engines.

With facilities in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, and Nanjing, the BMW Group has built the biggest research and innovation network outside of Germany. The research and development center in Shenyang mainly focuses on developing technologies for electromobility and localizing products.  To coincide with its tenth anniversary, the R&D facility was comprehensively expanded, and the development and validation capacity for BEVs in China increased.

The ‘Sixth-Generation Battery Project’ will play a key role in the production of vehicles for the ‘Neue Klasse’ and create around 2 000 new jobs in the region. The BMW Group and BBA already provide high-quality jobs for more than 30 000 people in China; 26 000 of these at BBA alone. 92 percent of the managerial positions are currently held by Chinese staff.

Sustainable mobility on the water

“The 76th Cannes Film Festival is underway, but one particularly spectacular world premiere on the bill will be experienced in the port area of the southern French town rather than on a cinema screen,” says a BMW press release. “This is where the BMW brand and boat maker Tyde are presenting ‘The Icon’, a new kind of flagbearer for sustainable mobility on the water.

The Icon is the first battery-powered marine craft of its kind and brings together locally emission-free travel with a vision of luxury that embraces pleasure. At 13,15 meters in length and with a top speed of 30 knots, the vessel is a trailblazer for a new breed of watercraft with battery-electric drive.

BMW came up with the idea and developed the concept for this pioneering collaborative endeavor. Responsible for the design are the creatives at innovation hub Designworks, a BMW Group subsidiary with studios in Los Angeles, Munich, and Shanghai.

The development and realization of the concept were entrusted to boat maker Tyde. And the powerful electric drive system sources its energy from high-voltage batteries supplied by BMW i. The marine travel experience created is accompanied by an exclusive soundtrack composed by award-winning film score composer Hans Zimmer, who also creates the ‘sounds’ for electric BMWs.

‘The Icon’ is a collaboration between BMW and boat maker Tyde /BMW


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