BMW’s Brilliance Automotive in China has announced it will build an electric car to be marketed under the newly created Zinoro brand.
BMW Brilliance Automotive, which is its Chinese joint venture, plans to build the electric vehicle (EV) at the Tiexi plant located in northeast China, in the city of Shenyang. It expects the car to be released by the first quarter of 2014.
The new brand, Zinoro, means “honoring promises.” Although few details of the new EV have been disclosed, it is known that the plant in Shenyag currently makes the BMW 3 series, 5 series, and X1.
In China, the government requires foreign automakers building vehicles in China to develop new brands for their local joint ventures. Examples of this have been seen with General Motors, Toyota, Honda, and Nissan — each have begun marketing their own Chinese brands.
BMW has had steady growth in China, where sales rose 5% year-on-year in March to 32,200 units, maintaining its position as China’s second-largest luxury automaker. Automotive News reported that sales for the first three months totaled 80,570 units, up 7.4% year-on-year.
Audi holds the number one position for luxury sales in China, with 102,810 units sold in the first quarter, up 8%.
Zinoro vehicles won’t be offered at BMW dealerships, but rather sold through unique distribution channels.
This setup will allow BMW to still sell its higher-end i3 and i8 plug-ins in China without the cheaper Zinoro vehicles cutting into sales. Furthermore, Zinoro’s offerings will not be as dynamic as BMW’s. The Zinoro lineup will be focused on practicality and affordability.