GM and its partners in China have opened a new plant which will manufacture vehicles for its local discount brand Baojun.
Sunday, November 18th, the SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture celebrated the opening of the plant in southwestern Guangxi province. The automaker and its partners have invested $1.3 billion to build this plant which will manufacture 400,000 cars annually. The JV also plans to build a powertrain factory at the plant, which will be opened in September 2013 and will produce 400,000 engines annually.
The first car which rolled off the production line was a Baojun 630 midsize sedan, which is priced at $10,100, and is one of the two models sold under the brand Baojun. The other model is Le Chi mini car which is priced at about $6,400.
In 2009 China managed to surpass the US, becoming the world’s largest auto market by vehicles sold, but slowing sales in the country have forced automakers to look for new ways to tap the faster-growing low end of the nation’s market in the countryside and smaller cities.
In August GM announced it begins production and testing prototype battery cells at the Advanced Technical Center in Shanghai. The prototype battery cells and complete systems, which are expected to be cheaper than the ones available on the market now, will help GM expand vehicle electrification and close partnerships with cell material and battery cell suppliers.