SHANGHAI – General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson reinforced the company’s commitment to China at the groundbreaking of two new joint venture facilities in Shanghai and during meetings with local government officials.
Shanghai GM broke ground for a new manufacturing plant and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) began construction of a new R&D facility on June 19.
Akerson reaffirmed the company’s plans to make Cadillac a larger player in China’s luxury market. “We see great potential to attract more buyers with Cadillac’s blend of luxury and performance,” he said. “The manufacturing plant we are here today to break ground on will be the home of even more new Cadillac models when it begins production.”
Shanghai GM’s new manufacturing facility at its Jinqiao complex will build Cadillac vehicles for the domestic market when it is completed in 2015. It will include a body shop, paint shop, general assembly shop, auxiliary facilities, and high-speed and brand experience center. The state-of-the-art plant will adopt the world's most advanced automation systems as well as a range of new technologies and processes for lean and green operations.
With an annual capacity of 160,000 units, the new plant will support GM’s plans to triple sales of luxury vehicles in China to 100,000 units within two years. Cadillac will add one new model per year through 2016, starting with the XTS sedan, which went into production in Shanghai earlier this year. The new plant is part of Shanghai GM’s plan to refresh its brands, product portfolios and technologies in order to strengthen its position in the market over the long term.
PATAC’s new R&D center will support its ongoing development of vehicles in China for local consumers. It will help PATAC maintain its domestic industry leadership, with additional facilities for vehicle design, engineering, powertrain and new energy vehicle development. At the same time, it will enhance the joint venture’s position in GM’s global engineering and design network.
The two facilities represent total investment of RMB 8 billion (US$1.3 billion).
GM’s SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture also began construction Tuesday on a new Wuling production base in Chongqing in southwest China. With investment of RMB 6.6 billion
(US$1.1 billion), the first phase is scheduled for completion in 2014. It will have an annual planned capacity of 400,000 vehicles.
“GM made a long-term commitment to China when we established our roots here more than 15 years ago,” said Akerson. “That commitment is exemplified by the growth of our operations in Shanghai as well as in the central and western regions. By working with our partners and joint ventures, we are creating new opportunities for our customers and China’s automotive industry.”
Akerson also sat down with local government officials. During meetings with Shanghai Party Secretary Han Zheng and Mayor Yang Xiong, Akerson discussed the company’s plans for expansion in the city as part of US$11 billion in capital expenditures in China by GM’s joint ventures through 2016.
“We appreciate the government’s continued support of our growing operations,” Akerson said. “GM intends to continue investing and adding to its operations in this key market, as demonstrated by the new facilities we begin constructing this week.”
He added, “Our joint ventures have been and will remain our foundation in China. Increasing our ability to design and manufacture vehicles locally will strengthen our position in the world’s largest vehicle market and GM’s largest market.”
Akerson closed out his visit by meeting with employees at the GM International Operations and GM China Headquarters in Shanghai on June 20. He discussed the company’s global business and the role China is playing.
“One of the keys to GM’s continued growth in China is our talented people,” Akerson said. “We have been leading in China because of your dedication and hard work over the past 15 years. With your help, we intend to remain a leader in this industry.”
General Motors traces its roots back to 1908. GM has 12 joint ventures, two wholly owned foreign enterprises and more than 58,000 employees in China. GM and its joint ventures offer the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China. Passenger cars and commercial vehicles are sold under the Baojun, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Jiefang, Opel and Wuling brands. In 2013, GM sold nearly 3.2 million vehicles in China. More information on General Motors in China can be found at GM Media Online.