Friday, December 19, 2008

General Motors opens new plant in China

General Motors opens new plant in China

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Beleaguered US automaker General Motors opened up a new joint venture manufacturing plant in northeast China on Wednesday which will begin churning out up to 150,000 vehicles annually beginning 2009.

The joint venture plant in Shenyang city, inaugurated as the iconic American brand is fighting for its life amidst the global crisis, will mass produce the compact Chevrolet Cruze from the second quarter of 2009.

"The opening of this plant is part of GM's ongoing pledge to grow our operations in China," said Kevin Wale, president of the GM China Group, in a statement.

The plant will be operated by General Motors China and its joint venture partners Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp Group and Shanghai GM.

The joint venture plant is the second for GM in Shenyang.

The first plant makes the Buick GL8 and the Buick FirstLand executive wagons and boasts a capacity of 50,000 vehicles annually.

The new opening comes after GM said on Friday it was idling 30 percent of its North American production "in response to rapidly deteriorating market conditions."

The auto giant, which has been pleading for an emergency US government loan to avert collapse, said the action comes in response to a sharp industrywide drop in last month vehicle sales, including a 41-percent drop for GM.

Despite the troubles in the United States, the China market has remained profitable for the automaker where it was the market leader until last year when it was overtaken by Volkswagen in sales.

"We are continuing our investment in China and actually we are very profitable in China," Henry Wong, GM's Shanghai-based spokesman, said last month.

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