Following the partnership between BMW and Chinese car maker Brilliance that formed in 2003, the German manufacturer looks likely to launch a new Chinese-built sub-brand called Zinoro, planning sales for both domestic and global markets.
China Car Times reports the brand – to debut in China under the name Zhi Nuo, meaning ‘The Promise’ – will focus on electric cars based on the BMW X1 and i-series vehicles. Industry journal Automotive News believes a battery-powered model based on the 3 Series sedan will also form part of the project, with the vehicles to be produced by BMW Brilliance Automotive Co. at its Tiexi plant in Shenyang.
The speculation about the new brand comes on the back of comments made by BMW chief of sales and marketing Ian Robertson in an Automotive News report, in which he said BMW may export cars built under a new brand developed with Brilliance to mature and developing markets.
"The idea is that global automakers help local firms produce cars good enough to establish a Chinese brand abroad,” Robertson said.
“Local brands have been largely directed at the domestic market.”
While some reports suggest the new brand’s first concept car will be revealed at this week’s 2013 Shanghai auto show, others believe the Guangzhou motor show in November is more likely, with the new brand's first car expected to go on sale in the first quarter of 2014.
The potential positives for global consumers could be a new entry-level brand to sit below the BMW-owned Mini marque, while the Zinoro project could also allow BMW to grow vehicle production within China through an expansion of local assembly facilities.
BMW Australia’s Lenore Fletcher told CarAdvice that while no official statement has been made by BMW in regards to launching a new China-based brand, there was a possibility that China could become a vehicle exporter for the German auto giant.