China’s growing appetite for luxury vehicles has prompted BMW Brilliant Automotive (BBA) joint ventures to strengthen its local presence. The existing factory in Dadong where the X3 and 5 Series are being integrated has been expanded to accommodate a new product. We’re talking about the X5 Li, a long-wheelbase version of the popular SUV ৷
Following its premiere in early March, the expanded X5 Li has now entered production at BBA’s Dadong Plant. It is the largest car factory of a luxury brand operating in China and the largest plant of the BMW Group. In fact, one-third of all vehicles produced by the company last year came from Shenyang, where the joint venture operates the plant TX. Collectively, the two combined more than 700,000 vehicles last year.
How big is the Dadong plant? With a footprint of 910,000 square meters, it is the size of about 125 football pitches. It includes body, paint and press stores, as well as an assembly building with two production lines. After the upgrade, the array of solar panels measured 179,000 square meters, generating more than 21 megawatts of power. The BBA has also set up additional charging stations for the use of employees owning EVs. By the way, Dadong Plant is the only place where the iX3 crossover converges.
With the X5 Li and i3 sedans, BBA’s manufacturing footprint is expanding
The aforesaid plant combines 1 series and 3 series with taxis X1 and X2. This summer, BBA will inaugurate a third manufacturing facility, Plant Lydia At this new plant, the recently unveiled i3 sedan will be made for the People’s Republic only. Much like the electric sedan, the X5 Li will only have a Chinese case.
To live up to its X5 Li moniker, the wheelbase of the BMW SUV has expanded to 130mm (5.1 inches). The X5 now measures 3,105 mm (122 inches) between the axles, thus perfectly matching the X7’s wheelbase. It will be offered in xDrive30Li and xDrive40Li configurations with standard xDrive and an eight-speed automatic. Although spy shots have revealed that a facelift work is underway for the Spartanburg-built Global X5, the Chinese model is based on a pre-LCI variant.