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China’s SAIC to commence India operations in 2019

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-06-2017 Shally Seth

Mumbai: SAIC Motor Corp., China’s largest automaker, plans to enter the Indian automobile market and commence operations in 2019 through a fully-owned car manufacturing facility in the country, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

SAIC will be the first Chinese auto firm to enter India from the world’s biggest auto market by volume.

It plans to create sizeable employment opportunities under the “Make in India” and “Skill India” initiatives and positively contribute to the economic development of the region, the Fortune Global 500 listed company said.

It’s currently in the process of finalizing its manufacturing facility and is firming up its product strategy for the Indian market, details of which will be announced at a later stage, it said.

With the establishment of its fully-owned subsidiary, MG Motor India, the company has appointed Rajeev Chaba as its president and managing director. A veteran with over two decades of experience in the automotive sector, Chaba, who has also served as a president and managing director at General Motors India Pvt. Ltd, has a wealth of global experience and proven track record. Chaba’s last assignment was as global COO in Vanguard Logistics, USA, and as an operating partner of ManCapital, a UK-based private equity firm. Prior to that, he worked in global automobile firms at senior positions at different locations, including Dubai, India, Japan and China.

MG Motor has also appointed P. Balendran, as the executive director.

The company did not disclose the investment planned for the India operations, a market which is expected to be the third-largest globally by 2020. The investment, a SAIC spokesperson said, will depend on whether SAIC sets up a greenfield facility or starts operations from General Motor India’s Halol facility, Mint reported on 8 June. It is exploring all options for setting up a manufacturing plant in India. Even as it is in talks to acquire General Motors Corp.’s India facility in Halol, Gujarat, it is also considering setting up a greenfield facility in the state.

SAIC Motor envisions to deliver environment friendly mobility solutions under the iconic ‘MG’ (Morris Garages) brand, it said, adding that the introduction of the iconic British Sports Car Brand ‘MG’ in India is an important part of SAIC Motor’s global strategy.

The MG brand, which originated as an iconic British Racing Sports Brand in 1924, has evolved into a modern-day innovative brand through the last 93 years. “As a new-age auto company focused on innovation and technology, the company offers various solutions and technological capabilities required in the development of ‘New Energy Vehicles’, to cater to the changing needs of global customers and the overall ecosystem,” it added.

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SAIC is the second Asian automaker to announce its plans for a market where SUVs are gaining ground over passenger cars. On 28 April, Kia Motors Corp., a unit of South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co., said it will invest $1.1 billion on building a manufacturing facility in Andhra Pradesh. It signed a memorandum of understanding with the Andhra Pradesh government for setting up the plant. In a statement, the company said that it will bring a compact sedan and a compact sports utility vehicle (SUV) to the market in 2019.

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