Foreign investments of Chinese automakers: SAIC Motor and Great Wall Motor

SAIC promotes electrification in Thailand and India; Great Wall starts production of HVs in Thailand



  According to the announcement by the China Automobile Manufacturers Association (CAAM) on January 28, 2021, the export of finished vehicles in 2020 decreased by 13.2% year-over-year (y/y) to 1.082 million units, with an export value of USD 15.74 billion. The top 10 companies exported a total of 895,000 units. SAIC Motor Corporation Limited topped the list with 323,000 units, and Great Wall Motor Company Limited was fifth with 70,000 units. In addition, exports of finished vehicles in the January to May period of 2021 were strong, increasing by 99.7% y/y to 753,000 units, with an export value of CNY 11.64 billion.

  “Internationalization”, one of China's national strategies, is accelerating, especially among major Chinese automakers. This report addresses the foreign investment trends of the SAIC Motor Group (hereinafter referred to as "SAIC Group"), which boasts the largest sales volume among automotive group companies in China, and Great Wall Motors, which built the first overseas independently owned plant by a Chinese automaker.

  SAIC Group and Great Wall Motors have acquired plants in Thailand and India from GM, which has reduced its Asian business footprint, and have refurbished them to produce finished vehicles. SAIC Group’s main overseas brands are MG, a passenger car brand, and Maxus, a commercial vehicle brand. MG brand vehicles, which began production in Thailand in 2014, achieved cumulative sales of 100,000 units in October 2020. Taking advantage of the Thai Board of Investment's promotion measures for EVs and tax incentives between China and Thailand, SAIC Group became the top-selling EV company in Thailand in 2020. In addition, the company is planning to introduce EVs in India and enhance charging infrastructure services. In the European market, the company will aggressively develop electric vehicles for both passenger cars and commercial vehicles.

  Great Wall Motors held a spectacular showing of its Haval H6 Hybrid, an SUV model, at the Bangkok Motor Show 2021 in March and started production of the model at the Rayong plant, which was once a GM plant, in June. In Russia, the company’s plant started operations in 2019, and an engine assembly plant is scheduled to start operations by the end of 2022. In India, the transfer of GM's plant in Telegaon was originally scheduled to be completed in 2020, but although there are media reports that the project is progressing steadily, the transfer has not yet been completed.

Related Reports:

Auto Shanghai 2021: SAIC, Dongfeng, FAW (May 2021)
Auto Shanghai 2021: Geely, Great Wall Motor, BYD (May 2021)
Bangkok International Motor Show 2021 (Part 2): Pickup trucks competition (Apr. 2021)
Indian Auto Expo 2020: GWM and Haima announce new entry into Indian market (Feb. 2020)
2020 Chinese market: New vehicle sales down 1.8%, commercial vehicle sales top 5 million units (Feb. 2021)
Overseas expansion of Chinese OEMs under the Belt and Road Initiative (Oct. 2018)