By on November 12, 2009

Gratuitous Shanghai booth babe. Picture courtesy automk.com

“China is a global driver of growth in the automotive market,” said Friedrich Eichiner, CFO of the BMW Group. “China will play a major role in the global automotive business, in the development of future technologies.” Then he signed off on a major expansion project. Together with joint venture partner Brilliance, BMW will be able to produce 175,000 Made in China BMWs, up from 30,000 units currently.

BMW and its partner, the state parent of Brilliance, will invest $735 million to expand an existing plant in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang. Brilliance and BMW manufacture BMW 3-Series and 5-Series there.

Annual production at the current plant will increase to 75,000 units by the end of next year, from 30,000 units currently. Construction of a second plant is scheduled to start in 2010 with a planned annual production capacity of 100,000 units, Reuters reports. If the market is receptive, BMW is ready to go to 300,000 Chinese Bimmers. In October, 81 percent more BMWs were sold than in the previous year.

And while we are at it: The rumor that SAIC might intrude on Brilliance’s patch and make the 7-Series was bunk. As suspected, it was one of those Chinese rumors.

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