The American carmaker has moved forward to dismiss speculation its ties with China’s SAIC Motor Corp are slipping away, saying the partnership is thriving and the two car makers are now discussing further collaboration in Indonesia.
According to some industry insiders and experts recent independent moves by SAIC outside China had been seen as signaling the two companies might be drifting apart, but GM’s top China executive said it was merely a consequence of its state-owned partner’s growing 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 launch more new or significantly redesigned models in China next year, including a key small car update next year. It also plans to further grow exports of jointly designed and produced cars out of China.
To keep up with demand, GM China and SAIC are rushing to open four new plants – two along the country’s prosperous east coast and another two in the middle western region of China to add an additional 1 million cars a year to capacity by 2015.
Lee said GM and SAIC had never discussed cooperating in Thailand but noted the two companies were still in discussions 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 more full-fledged GM-SAIC joint venture. “Those are … under discussion,” he said.
SAIC spokeswoman Judy Zhu agreed the relationship between GM and SAIC was healthy. On Indonesia, Zhu said SAIC was “still learning the Southeast Asia market and exploring possible business opportunities”.
) - Monday, October 28th, 2013 - filed under General Motors
. Image credit: .
Discuss: GM eyes Indonesia as its China partnership with SAIC very strong