Manufacturing News

SAIC to build MG cars in India

SAIC Motor Corp. plans to set up its first car manufacturing plant in India as Chinese carmakers push into overseas markets.

SAIC will introduce the MG brand to India and begin operations in 2019, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company will set up a wholly owned unit in India, to be headed by former General Motors executive Rajeev Chaba. It will announce details of the manufacturing plant and product strategy at a later stage.

SAIC will be the first Chinese carmaker to produce passenger cars in India, which is projected to become the third-largest vehicle market worldwide in 2020. China is encouraging its domestic companies to venture overseas and seek greater market share.

Great Wall Motor Co. and Guangzhou Automobile Group plan to sell their models in developed markets such as the U.S., while Zhejiang Geely Holding Group this month invested in Malaysia's Proton Holdings as part of its expansion into Southeast Asia.

The MG brand is undergoing a revamp under SAIC, which unveiled a sports coupe concept at the Shanghai auto show in April. The automaker is counting on the prototype to lift the marque's profile among local and overseas consumers.

SAIC took control of MG, an historic UK brand, after merging in 2007 with Nanjing Automobile, which bought the assets of MG Rover following the collapse of the last British mass-market automaker in 2005. MG cars are currently sold in the United Kingdom and China.

They are built solely in China after SAIC ended final assembly last year at its factory in Longbridge, England. SAIC has said it will begin selling MGs in mainland Europe starting in 2019.

The Shanghai-based firm, which has joint ventures with General Motors and Volkswagen in China, began exporting locally made Buick Envision SUVs to North America last year.

SAIC, which also owns the Maxus and Roewe brands, has said it wants to enter the United States, the world's second-biggest auto market.

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