SAIC takes green technology path in drive to success
Kandy Wong in Tianjin
Large domestic carmakers are taking the lead in pushing green technology. Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), the mainland's largest carmaker, said it has invested two billion yuan since last year in a technology centre to help the company produce more environmentally friendly vehicles.
Company vice-president Wang Dazong said at a vehicle conference that SAIC's technology centre has combined Chinese and British knowhow to its self-branded Roewe series.
He also said the technology centre would start operating by the end of this year, and by 2010 the group plans to invest 21.4 billion yuan in the centre as part of its 11th five-year programme.
The company recently finished developing its first self-branded hybrid car.
It plans to launch the model by next year, and has set a sales target of 50,000 such vehicles by the end of the decade.
SAIC, which is aggressively attaining its goal of building mid-range self-branded models through acquisitions, bought the intellectual property rights for the Rover 25 and Rover 75 from MG Rover three years ago for US$97 million.
The company launched its first car, the Roewe 750, early this year, priced between 230,000 yuan and 320,000 yuan.
It also acquired a 48.9 per cent stake in South Korea's SsangYong Motor for US$500 million in 2004.
Mainland carmakers are following a government initiative to build self-branded green cars as a way to maintain a stable market position. The government is eager to meet international emission standards due to its commitment to the World Trade Organisation and as part of clean-up efforts before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Separately, Jilin-based carmaker First Auto Works, one of the mainland's three largest carmakers, said it planned to run its first hybrid car on Beijing's streets next year during the Olympic Games.
The company plans to invest 13 billion yuan by 2010 to develop self-branded cars, of which 8.8 billion yuan will fund the manufacture of new models, and another 1.7 billion yuan will be applied to the development of critical technologies.