When Guangzhou Honda pulls the wraps off its first self-designed vehicles later this month at the Guangzhou auto show, it will be leading a charge by some of China's largest automakers, virtually all of which expect to introduce their own homegrown models over the next two years.
Companies such as Dongfeng Motor in Wuhan, First Auto Group (FAW) in Changchun, and Shanghai Auto (SAIC) all have announced plans to launch their own self-branded cars, backed by substantial investments and often using technology borrowed from their foreign joint-venture partners.
Guangzhou Honda, for instance, reportedly is using components from the Honda Accord for at least one of its new models, a 2.0-liter midsize sedan that is slated to begin production in late 2008 or early 2009. The company is spending $270 million on the new range of cars that will not carry the Honda brand.
Dongfeng, which numbers Nissan, Honda, Kia and PSA Peugeot Citroën among its partners, is investing $1.3 billion to develop a whole family of self-branded cars by 2010, when it plans to build and sell more than 300,000 units a year.
FAW, which is partnered with Toyota and VW-Audi, has earmarked $1.7 billion over eight years to develop and produce its own range of vehicles under the Hongqi (Red Flag) and other brand names.
SAIC, affiliated with VW and General Motors, has far and away the most ambitious self-brand strategy, investing $2.8 billion to create a full portfolio of models, beginning with the Rover-based Roewe 750 sedan. SAIC envisions annual production capacity of nearly 300,000 for its own brands.