Following an announcement from BMW Group that it will be ramping up production in China to serve its largest market, the German automaker also confirmed Monday that it will raise prices on US -built crossover SUVs in response to President Trump's proposed foreign-built vehicle tariffs.
BMW said it had struck a deal with CATL to buy batteries worth 4.0 billion euros ($4.7 billion) - with 1.5 billion euros of sales in Germany and 2.5 billion in China. "It's a strategically important agreement", she said at a joint press conference with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang after the signing ceremony.
Among the innovations showcased in the BMW Concept iX3 is the fifth generation of BMW eDrive technology, which groups the electric motor, transmission and power electronics within a new, separate electric drive component. Expected to run at full steam by 2022, the facility targets a capacity of 14 gigawatt hours (GWh).
Duesmann said BMW had invested in some of the costs for the CATL factory in Erfurt, but declined to say how much.
The company sold 560,000 BMW brand vehicles to customers in China in 2017, more than the USA and Germany combined.
Politicians and stakeholders, among them trade unions and government advisors, have pushed for battery cell production in Germany for years, but the country's carmakers have so far shied away from investing in such plants, which would make them less reliant on foreign suppliers, arguing that domestic production would be more expensive than Asian imports.
However, BMW has no plans to jointly purchase cells with rival Daimler (DAIGn.DE), he said, because of the competitive advantage that can be gained if batteries give greater range or can be charged faster.
Top of the to-do list has been striking deals with battery makers and securing supplies of raw materials for the cells, especially cobalt.