The American carmaker has moved to dismiss speculation its deals with China’s SAIC Motor Corp are slipping away, saying the partnership is a good one and the two carmakers are now discussing further collaboration in Indonesia.
According to some industry insiders and experts recent independent moves by SAIC outside China were thought to signal the two companies might be ready to part ways, but GM’s top China executive said it was just the fact that the state-owned partner reached maturity as an automaker.
“The relationship between SAIC and GM has never been better,” GM China Chairman Tim Lee said in an interview.
According to Lee and GM China President Bob Socia GM plans to introduce more new or significantly refreshed cars in China next year, including an important small model update in 2014. It also plans to further increase exports of the jointly designed and produced cars outside China.
Lee added that GM and SAIC had never talked about Thailand but noted the two companies were still in negotations over Indonesia, a key emerging market with a population of more than 240 million people.
“We’ve always said we’re looking at options and alternatives in Indonesia with SAIC, but we’ve never (disclosed) what the business model is,” Lee said. Options include a deal for GM to do contract assembly for SAIC or a bigger GM-SAIC joint venture. “Those are … under discussion,” he said.
SAIC spokeswoman Judy Zhu agreed the relationship between GM and SAIC was doing well. On Indonesia, Zhu said SAIC was “still learning the Southeast Asia market and exploring possible business opportunities”.