With Chinese booming auto market spreading across the country, General Motors has launched a new joint venture aimed at capitalizing on demand for smaller low-cost cars.
The new Baojun brand is a three-way joint venture established by GM and its partners SAIC and Wuling Motors. They currently cooperate on the production of a low-priced microvan, but under Baojun will focus on small cars aimed at the next generation of Chinese buyers in the country’s second and third-tier cities.
The project, GM says, will exclusively target China, though some industry observers believe it could eventually provide a production base for GM to ship products to other emerging markets in Asia and other parts of the world.
“The introduction of Baojun is part of GM’s multi-brand strategy in China,” said Kevin Wale, the president of the fast-growing GM China Group. “Baojun will complement our other brands sold in China including our fastest-growing mainstream nameplate, Chevrolet. It will enable us to better address the increasingly segmented Chinese vehicle market.”
GM’s latest move reflects its increasing focus on China, which so far this year has been a larger market for the maker than the United States. GM is locked in a pitched battle with the German Volkswagen AG for dominance in China, VW announcing expansion plans of its own just last week.
China is currently the world’s largest national auto market, taking the lead from the troubled U.S. market last year. While demand has been slowing, Chinese car sales have continued to grow at a double-digit rate so far this year.