Manufacturing News

GM's Wuling venture to launch first EV next year, report says

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., a General Motors joint venture that produces microvans and entry-level vehicles, will introduce its first electric vehicle next year, according to Chinese media.

The Baojun E101 will be a Smart-like microcar with two doors and four seats, reported Internet Info Agency, a Beijing-based website.

The EV will be built at SAIC-GM-Wuling's second assembly plant where Baojun brand passenger vehicles are produced in the southwest China city of Liuzhou.

The 8 billion yuan ($1.3 billion) factory can build up to 400,000 gasoline-powered vehicles and 200,000 EVs after reaching full capacity, according to the company.

Aside from the EV, the joint venture will launch sales of three new and upgraded gasoline car models in China next year, the website reported. The Internet Info Agency did not provide further details about the new models.

SAIC-GM-Wuling, a 50.1-44-5.9 partnership among SAIC Motor Corp., GM and the Liuzhou government, is China's largest microvan maker. It started producing passenger vehicles under the Baojun brand in 2010.

In the first eight months of this year, the company's sales of Wuling-badged microvans and small MPVs dropped 8.1 percent to 948,643 vehicles, due to continued contraction of the microvan market in China.

But its Baojun brand sales surged 282 percent to 223,367 vehicles on robust demand for the Baojun 730 MPV and the Baojun 560 SUV.

In China, GM also has a passenger vehicle joint venture with SAIC, which builds the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles.

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