Mini assembly at the main plant in Oxford. Some models are built under contract in the Netherlands

Mini assembly at the main plant in Oxford. Some models are built under contract in the Netherlands

BMW is working on a deal that would take Mini manufacturing outside Europe for the first time, according to news agency sources. The automakers are not commenting.

Bloomberg, citing anonymous sources, said BMW is discussing a possible outsourcing agreement with Great Wall Motor to produce the Mini for export. 

Minis are currently produced in Oxford, England and contract assembled in the Netherlands (previous contract assembly was by Magna in Graz, Austria).

Last July, the automaker chose Oxford to build the electric Mini.

After China last month ordered most automakers to sell a minimum number of new energy vehicles starting 2019, BMW said it was fully committed to promoting electric mobility in the country.

Bloomberg said an agreement on local production of the Mini for export would boost the prospects of Great Wall, whose shares surged 14% on Wednesday following speculation of a joint venture with BMW. That prompted the Chinese maker to suspend trading the following day.

A Great Wall spokesman declined to comment to Bloomberg, saying the company would issue a statement later. BMW in Germany also declined to comment.

Bloomberg noted BMW already builds cars locally in a venture with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings. Sales of BMW and Mini cars in Chine rose 16% in the first eight months of the year to 383,976 units while China's passenger vehicle sales rose 3.3% to 2.34m last month, data released Thursday showed.

Great Wall, founded by billionaire Chairman Wei Jianjun, has become China's leading SUV producer and doesn't have any car making partners in China, Bloomberg noted.