Great Wall Motor in Talks With BMW Over Mini Brand in China

The new partnership would be the second car-making venture for BMW in China, following its older joint venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., based in the northeastern city of Shenyang.

Bernstein analysts said they believed that any new venture of BMW and Great Wall would have to sell exclusively electric vehicles (EVs), given China's moratorium on approvals for new gasoline auto businesses.

The BMW Group is said to be hammering out a deal with Great Wall Motors to build cars from its upmarket compact brand for export, according to sources familiar to the plan.

Association with Great Wall would see increase in both BMW's production volume and its EV share in one of the largest automobile industry in the world.

"A deal with Great Wall wouldn't make sense, at least today, because the two companies have no market overlap and wouldn't achieve greater scale together", the publication quoted 65-year-old Italian-Canadian business magnate as saying. BMW is trying to stay ahead of third-place Daimler's Mercedes-Benz, which recorded 26.6 percent growth in China sales in 2016 thanks to a fresher model lineup. But China's state planner has said that in principal it will not approve any new foreign joint ventures involving traditional gas-powered cars because the market is already oversupplied.

Thus far neither automaker has officially commented on the reports.

Great Wall's Shanghai shares have been suspended from trading since late last month. The company suspended trading in the shares on October 12 and September 29 respectively.

A Great Wall official declined to comment.

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