According to a local Washington State TV station BMW and partner SGL are looking at several locations in North America to build a plant specifically for producing carbon fiber material likely for the upcoming iSetta range of cars. According to sources BMW is looking at a location near Moses Lake Washington (US) and an unnamed Canadian city. The project is so secret that those inside the Washington county where Moses Lake resides are only calling it “Project Chinook”.
With labor and material cheaper in North America than Europe, BMW is looking to make a strategic decision to shift some production of components outside of Europe and closer to what is currently BMW’s largest market and closer to what could eventually eclipse it, China.
What does this mean for MINI? Unlike some technologies, BMW has been adamant that Carbon Fiber will be used in it’s new range of small and highly efficient city cars sub-branded iSetta. Assuming BMW can get the carbon fiber components down (we’re talking large components like entire chassis, not spoilers) then we could see this technology coming to MINI in the 4th generation car late this decade.
BMW and SGL are expected to make a decision and a formal announcement in the coming weeks.