The new 1 Series Sedan is the latest piece of forbidden fruit to come from a western automaker and its Chinese joint-venture partner.
Zinoro, Zhi Nuo, po-TAY-to, po-TAH-to, let's call the whole thing on. Whatever the pronunciation, the BMW China joint venture Brilliance Automotive will use the new Z-brand to sell its upcoming electric vehicles in the country, Automotive News China says.
Automakers continue to pour big money into the developing market that is China, and new sub-brands born of joint ventures with domestic partners crop up on what seems like a weekly basis. The latest? According to reports, BMW and its Chinese ally Brilliance are forming a new sub-brand called Zhi Nuo ("The Promise") that will likely rely on existing or older BMW products as a basis for new models.
Brilliance BS4 Wagon – Click above for high-res image gallery
Businessweek reports that Brilliance (yes, that Brilliance) plans to have cars (possibly the Saibao, above) for sale in the U.S. next year for around $20,000. Phoenix, Arizona-based Autokam is behind the import plan and a Flash animation on their Web page says to expect Brilliance products this fall.
According to a new Beijing Times report published Wednesday, BMW is quietly readying plans itself to open a second plant in China. The plant will be run with domestic partner Brilliance Automotive Group, and complement the company's existing Shenyang plant. On a related note, the Bavarian automaker also hopes to increase its ability to source parts locally, with plans to more than double the amount of area suppliers it uses this year.