BEIJING (AP) -- BMW Group announced Thursday expansion plans in China, the world's largest vehicle market, by investing 560 million euros ($735 million) with its local partner Brilliance Automotive Holdings Ltd.
The expansion includes building a second production plant in China's northern industrial city of Shenyang, where the joint-venture has produced BMW 3 Series and 5 Series vehicles since 2003.
"The decision to build a second plant demonstrates that we are investing in our future in China and that we intend to participate in the strong growth in the Chinese market," Friedrich Eichiner, vice president BMW Brilliance Automotive, said in a statement.
China's auto sales this year exceeded the United States as the world's highest. Sales in October soared 72 percent from a year earlier to 1.2 million vehicles, the state-sanctioned China Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported this week. Total sales so far this year are 10.9 million vehicles, compared with 8.6 million in the United States, according to Autodata Corp.
Construction for the plant will start in 2010, with an aim of producing 100,000 units a year, BMW Group said.
China is the BMW Group's fourth-largest market and in October reported an 81 percent year-on-year sales increase.
Brilliance Automotive Holdings Ltd., China's major minibus maker, was the first Chinese state-owned company to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange. It requested that its shares stop trading on the NYSE earlier this year due to low trading volume.