General Motors pushes further East with $1bn factory expansion

City A.M. Reporter
GENERAL MOTORS and its Chinese joint-venture partners yesterday announced plans to build a $1bn (£620m) auto assembly plant in the city of Chongqing in a bid to remain the leader in the world’s largest auto market.

GM, SAIC Motor and Wuling Motors said they will begin construction of the plant early next year, pending government approvals.

The 6.6bn Chinese yuan (£625m) first phase is scheduled to start in 2015. The plant in southwestern China will have annual production capacity of 400,000 vehicles, but the partners did not disclose what vehicles will be built there.

It will also have the capacity to build 400,000 engines annually, a GM spokesman said.

The new plant is part of SAIC-GM-Wuling’s push to reach a production target of 2m vehicles per year by the end of 2015. GM invests $1bn annually in China.

Chongqing, one of China’s largest cities, is home to Ford Motor and its Chinese partner Changan Automobile.

GM, whose Chinese joint venture began building vehicles in 1999, had a leading 14 per cent of China’s market of 18.5m vehicles last year – just ahead of Volkswagen AG, which also counts SAIC as a partner.