BEIJING (AFX) - SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, one of China's largest automakers, said it has appointed Wang Dazong, a former chief engineer and design manager at General Motors, as its vice president.
Wang will be in charge of technical management and product development at the Chinese automaker, including establishing R&D capabilities for launching its own brand vehicles, said SAIC Motor in a statement.
Yale Zhang, head of auto consultancy CSM Worldwide's China operations, told XFN-Asia that there is a growing trend among Chinese automakers to employ more and more overseas professionals to bring in production and management expertise.
Zhang said that most Chinese firms, including Chery and Lifan, already have key R&D personnel who have worked for major international automakers.
'But it is hard to measure how much value these personnel can create for the Chinese automakers in developing their own cars,' Zhang added.
SAIC Motor Corp Ltd said in February that it has set up a company -- SAIC Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd -- to produce automobiles of its own design with an investment of 3.68 bln yuan.
The first model, which was designed based on the Rover 75, is scheduled to be released in the second half of the year.
State media reported earlier this year that SAIC Motor may hire GM China's former president Phil Murtaugh to head SAIC Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd.
SAIC, FAW drive into Fortune 500
TWO Chinese car giants drove themselves into the new Fortune 500 list as a result of the nation's booming auto industry.
SAIC, the Chinese partner of General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG, took the 475th position with a sales revenue of US$14.3 billion for 2005, two years after it entered the list in 2004.
First Automobile Works Group, China's largest automaker, maintained its name on the list for a second consecutive year and was No. 470 with revenue of US$14.5 billion.
However, its ranking dropped from No. 448 in the last list with US$13.8 billion sales income.
FAW's profit for 2005 totaled US$116 million while SAIC's was US$21 million.
Analysts said SAIC's acquisition of South Korea's Ssangyong Motors Corp, which increases its sales, helped the Chinese automaker back onto the list this time in addition to its rapid development in car manufacturing in the Chinese market.
SAIC overtook FAW as China's largest carmaker for the first time last year when it sold 1.05 million vehicles, a 24 percent jump from a year earlier.
The Shanghai-based company also sold over 680,000 units in the first half of this year.
SAIC appoints Gao to head its R&D subsidiary
SHANGHAI Automobile Industry Corp has hired Gao Jiawei, formerly with General Motors Corp, to strengthen its research and development capability as it seeks to roll out vehicles under its own nameplate.
SAIC Motor Manufacturing Co Ltd, the major platform of SAIC for making vehicles with its own technology, has appointed Gao as the director of its production line-up.
It is understood that the new company is considering producing smaller-sized vehicles, a source told Shanghai Daily.
A SAIC Motor spokesman refused to comment yesterday.
SAIC Motor has an abundance of talent in its pool after lapping up 150 auto engineers from failed carmaker MG Rover.
Gao's appointment comes after SAIC named another former General Motors staffer Wang Dazhong as its vice president in March.
The former GM chief engineer and design manager will be responsible for technical management and product development, including R&D capabilities of the company.
SAIC, China's second-largest automaker, has been aggressively eying expansion after winning the intellectual property right for Rover 25 and Rover 75 from the British carmaker early last year.
The Shanghai enterprise, which cooperated with both General Motors Corp and Volkswagen AG, plans to invest 13.6 billion yuan (US$1.69 billion) to launch 30 models with its own technology in the market over the next five years.
SAIC Motor's first self-branded model, a mid-to-high range family car based on the Rover 75, will roll out in the second half of this year followed by another family car early next year.
Reports elsewhere said the company has also spent US$22 million to gain the Rover brand from BMW Corp. However, Huang Huaqiong, a spokesman for SAIC Motor, said the Chinese name for the models haven't been decided yet. The company's manufacturing plant aims to produce 300,000 vehicles by 2010.
They should stick with SAIC as their Western brand name.
I think they will become a global giant in ten years. They have the resources and the foundation.
22 million just for the Rover brand name??? :nono: Well I guess an established brand name will help them but so far the vehicles are virtually the same as the old Rover 75 they are based on, more to should have been done apart from some minor stylistic enhancements.
SAIC/Nanjing - a bit like the Rolls Royce/Bentley sale that VW thought it had scored on, and then BMW removed the big ace for a fraction of the price! Ok, maybe SAIC had contributed previoulsy to MG Rover, and maybe Rover is not such a big prize in British eyes, but Rover is certainly a more useable name in the Far East for prestige cars than MG.
SAIC to buy parent's JV stakes
SAIC business news
By Jin Jing 2007-7-28
THE Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp yesterday signed a letter of intent with the Yuejin Motor (Group) Corp that will allow it to tie up with the Nanjing Automobile Corp.
The result will be the biggest alliance in China's auto industry for developing home-branded model.
China's largest auto maker and Yuejin plan to jointly set up panels working on the possibility of cooperation on complete cars, auto parts and auto trades between the two state-owned car makers, SAIC said in a statement late yesterday.
The proposed synergy is based on an assets-restructuring program for both Jiangsu Province-based Yuejin and its subsidiary, Nanjing Auto, with the aim of a comprehensive cooperation with the SAIC, the statement added.
Analysts said the announcement marks the launch of a long-awaited merger between SAIC and Nanjing Auto, which acquired assets and intellectual property rights from the failed British MG Rover Corp to make their own-branded vehicles. "The cooperation will combine the strength of each other and will be carried out in an extensive way," SAIC said in the statement.
"The unity should help to consolidate resources for better efficiency, improve research and development capabilities, expand product mix and lift brand value for a win-win situation."
SAIC lost out to Nanjing Auto in a bidding for the bankrupt MG Rover in 2005. It spent 67 million pounds (US$136.21 million) to get the technology for two Rover models, which helped its listed unit, Shanghai Auto, to unveil its own version of Rover 75 last year, called the Roewe 750 sedan.
Nanjing Auto took over the MG brand and complete assembly lines with a 50-million-pound investment. It will sell the Chinese-made MG-branded models - starting next month - as part of a US$2 billion investment to revive the historical brand worldwide.
SAIC didn't elaborate on the cooperation agreement yesterday, saying the consolidation will avoid competition issuer with Shanghai Auto.
We all knew it was coming :)
So will the forums eventually merge? And will Roewe's become MG's and Austins?
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