BMW aiming to grow Mini brand in China

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The stock jumped 14% on Wednesday after www.iautodaily.com, a Chinese website, reported Great Wall and BMW would set up a joint venture in China and were selecting a venue to build a manufacturing plant.

"It is only possible to accelerate growth of Mini in China with a local partner", BMW said. The agreement would mark the first time the Mini would be produced outside of Europe and units could be exported to markets beyond China.

Another person familiar with the matter said the new joint venture in the eastern city of Changshu would not deal with gasoline or diesel powered cars, indicating a focus on electric vehicles was likely.

Munich has already been building BMWs in China with Brilliance Auto since 2003.

BMW's China sales grew 11.3 percent past year.

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Hong Kong - Great Wall Motor, China's biggest SUV maker, halted trading in its Hong Kong shares after they surged on media reports the company plans a tie-up with Germany's BMW.

The German automaker has announced sales of electrified vehicles through the first three quarters of 2017 have already exceeded all of previous year.

Subsequently, Hyundai was also linked as a buyer to Jeep brand.

"I don't know how far along we have gone nailing this deal", or whether the two companies have official central government approval for the venture, the BMW executive said.

"The BMW Group has the largest share of the electrified market worldwide; this year, we've already sold more electrified vehicles than in the whole of last year and we are well on track to deliver our target of 100,000 by year-end", said Ian Robertson, head of sales and marketing for BMW AG.

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