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March 18, 2010

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Home » Business » Auto

SAIC kicks off production at Nanjing base

SAIC Motor, the nation's biggest auto maker, yesterday accelerated the development of own-brand vehicles by kicking off production at its new base in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province.

SAIC's new plant in the city's Pukou District, with an investment of 2.57 billion yuan (US$377 million), will be the production hub for its small-capacity engine and mid-class vehicles under the Roewe and MG brands. The first Roewe 350 sedan rolled off the assembly line yesterday.

The Pukou plant will have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles as well as 250,000 engines.

It would be the third plant for SAIC's self-developed vehicles besides Lingang in Shanghai and Yizheng in Jiangsu Province, and will boost total capacity to about 500,000 units.

"The mid-class segment embraces the biggest market potential and fastest growth in China," said Hu Maoyuan, president of SAIC. "The Roewe 350 is strategically important for our own-brand vehicles and in generating more profits."

The car has a 1.5-liter engine developed by SAIC and more high-tech equipment to help compete with the GM Excelle, Ford Focus and Toyota Corolla.

SAIC is the Chinese partner of General Motors and Volkswagen.

The Pukou plant was previously owned by Nanjing Auto, a smaller rival acquired by SAIC in 2007.

Last year, sales of SAIC's own-brand vehicles jumped by 153 percent to 90,000 units. SAIC aims to double sales to 180,000 units this year with the launch of four new models - a mid-class sedan, compact car, mid-to-high class sedan and sport-utility vehicle.

However, own-brand cars account for a small part of SAIC's overall sales. This year, SAIC plans to sell 3 million cars, up from last year's 2.7 million units.

According to a Nanjing-based official, SAIC plans to invest 10 billion yuan in facilities in the city by 2015.


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