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SAIC-GM-Wuling launches Baojun brand to target passenger car market

SHANGHAI – SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd. (SGMW), GM’s mini-commercial vehicle joint venture with SAIC and Wuling Motors, announced on July 18 the launch of the Baojun, the JV’s passenger car brand. The vehicles under the new brand will be built and sold in China, according to a GM’s news release.

Baojun (“treasured horse” in Chinese) is being introduced to address the growing demand for affordable passenger cars in China, said GM. SGMW’s new passenger vehicle sales and distribution network will be built based on its existing network, incorporating new distributors and elements of the current structure. SGMW will begin building the new network for passenger vehicles following the official launch of the Baojun brand.

The company also announced that the first model under the new brand would hit the Chinese market this year, and that it would keep launching a new mid-level model every year starting in 2011. In order to avoid direct competition with Shanghai-GM’s lineups, the Baojun brand will mainly target second-, third-, and even fourth-tier cities, as well as the rural market.

The vehicle has been developed with help of GM and SAIC’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center joint venture in Shanghai, said GM.

“Baojun is being positioned as a reliable partner with an image that is confident, smart and dependable,” said Shen Yang, general manager of SGMW. “We aim to surpass customer expectations by creating a brand that combines world-class quality with low ownership costs.”

“The introduction of Baojun is part of GM’s multi-brand strategy in China,” said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of 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.”

According to Chen Hong, president of SAIC Motor, “Baojun will become another good example of successful partnership. By combining the best resources that SAIC, GM and SGMW have to offer, we will ensure an outstanding ownership experience for a greater number of consumers.”

SAIC-GM-Wuling was founded in 2002. Based in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, SGMW manufactures a range of Wuling brand mini trucks and microvans as well as the Chevrolet Spark mini cars. In 2009, SGMW posted domestic sales of 1,061,213 units, becoming the first automaker in China to sell more than 1 million vehicles in a single year. It has been the sales leader among Chinese mini vehicle producers for four consecutive years.

SGMW sold a total of 727,797 vehicles in the first seven months of this year, up 26.03 percent year-on-year, according to CBU-Autostats.

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