BMW may partner with Great Wall to expand Chinese production

"As of the date of this announcement, the company and BMW have not entered into any legal (agreement) for the establishment of a joint venture in China", Great Wall said in its statement. Separately, Reuters also reported the news, citing a source at BMW familiar with the matter.

The second person interviewed by Reuters said if the partnership happens, it would not involve petrol- or diesel-powered vehicles - hinting at a focus on electric vehicles (EV). It is the country's second-largest premium brand after Volkswagen AG's Audi AG.

BMW's China sales grew 11.3 percent past year.

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The two companies are discussing the possible export of Mini brand cars from China to other markets, said the officials, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. The company already has an alliance with Brilliance Auto to produce its range of cars, including China-only models. The company produces a number of models at two facilities in Shenyang, including the China-only 1 Series sedan (above) and long-wheelbase X1 SUV. For Great Wall, the deal is an endorsement of its capabilities in the world's biggest market. Additionally, rumours regarding Great Wall's interest in the Jeep brand have been circulating of late - though parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has already played down that idea.

China wants electric and hybrid cars to make up at least a fifth of the country's auto sales by 2025 and plans to loosen joint-venture regulations to achieve its aim.

Thus far neither automaker has officially commented on the reports.

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Great Wall, which in August expressed an interest in the Jeep brand of Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's, is one of China's largest vehicle makers.

Brilliance China Automotive's shares were down 2.76 percent.

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