SAIC Motor Corp (SAIC) and General Motors (GM) have signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) "to reinforce their collaboration in certain core areas of their business, including the development of new energy vehicles and the creation of a stronger and more integrated role for their Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) automotive engineering and design joint venture to work on future vehicles and powertrains".

The Chinese joint venture partners build Chevrolet, Cadillac and Buick vehicles in China as well as SAIC's popular Wuling minivehicle lines. They said signing of the MoU builds on their efforts to explore cooperation in Asia’s emerging markets, led by India, and to codevelop two efficient new powertrain families. It represents an extension of SAIC and GM’s plans to build a closer strategic alliance.

A joint effort to develop more new energy vehicles and components is a core element of the anticipated strategic cooperation. It could include the co-development of key components, utilising best solutions from either party, the development of a new electric vehicle architecture for China and the acceleration of electric vehicle technical capability in the companies’ China operations.

In addition to a focus on new energy vehicles, SAIC and GM anticipate sharing an additional vehicle architecture and powertrain application in an effort to help reduce development costs and benefit from economies of scale. They also plan to further enhance the vehicle and powertrain capabilities of PATAC, while jointly training local R&D staff. This will allow both partners to capitalise on new development opportunities in emerging markets.

In the first ten months of 2010, SAIC and GM’s Shanghai GM (SGM) joint venture sold about 843,000 vehicles in China. SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) has been the largest minivehicle manufacturer in China for four consecutive years. Last year, SGMW became China’s first vehicle manufacturer to top 1m units of sales and production. It has already reached this mark in 2010.

The areas covered by the MoU are subject to the negotiation of definitive agreements.

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