SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW), General Motors (GM) China’s joint venture with SAIC and Wuling Motors, opened its new passenger car production base on 18 November in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

During SGMW’s celebration of its tenth anniversary, a Baojun 630 midsize sedan rolled off the production line. The investment for the first phase of the plant is CNY8bn (US$1.3bn). The 2 million-square-metre facility has an annual manufacturing capacity of 400,000 units. It has adopted GM’s global manufacturing system and other world-class systems and processes.

The passenger car production base is initially producing vehicles from the Baojun family. SGMW’s indigenous brand began offering the Baojun 630 in August 2011. It added the Le Chi mini-car earlier this year. Baojun products are targeted primarily at first-time car buyers in China’s second-, third- and fourth-tier cities.  

A powertrain manufacturing facility capable of producing up to 400,000 engines annually is under construction at the passenger car production base. It is scheduled to begin operation in September 2013. In addition, several local and global suppliers have set up operations at the site.

“SGMW has recorded many achievements in the space of 10 years,” said Bob Socia, president, GM China, and chief country operations officer, China, India and Asean. “It has set a global benchmark for low-cost, high-value manufacturing. Its new facility will help ensure its continued growth in the world’s largest vehicle market.”

“The passenger car production base represents the latest milestone for our joint venture,” added SGMW president Shen Yang. “It will lay a solid foundation for the expansion of SGMW’s important passenger car business.”

SGMW also plans to enhance its R&D capability after the passenger car production base is completed, integrating engineering design and testing resources, and establishing a systematic capability for product development and technical research. The aim is to fully support the overall development strategy of SGMW by helping it achieve 2 million annual vehicle sales, grow its export business and enhance its technology by the end of China’s twelfth five-year plan period.

SGMW was established on 18 November 2002. SAIC has a 50.1% stake, GM China a 44% stake and Wuling Motors a 5.9% stake. The joint venture, which is based in Liuzhou, manufactures and sells a range of Wuling brand mini-trucks and minivans as well as the Baojun passenger car brand. In 2011, SGMW sold 1,285,820 vehicles in China.