First Buick rolls out of shanghai plant

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BEIJING - A white 1999 Buick Xin Shi Ji (NewCentury), the first made by Shanghai General Motors (SGM),has rolled off the assembly line in Shanghai. As an enhancedversion of the North American midsize Buick Century andRegal, meeting the specific conditions of the Chinese market,more than 600 engineering changes were made to the U.S.models. The car will go into regular production in April andwill be on sale in China by June.

Its target market includes joint venture businesses, privateentrepreneurs and government officials. "This product isdesigned and manufactured to compete against--and beat--theimported midsize sedans coming into the Chinese market. Notonly will it be competitively priced, but it will bring theheritage of the 95-year-old Buick nameplate," PhilipMurtaugh, exec VP of SGM, told "China Daily." The carswill be priced between $36,000 to $48,000. SGM is an equallydivided $1.52 billion investment between General MotorsCorp. and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and is by farthe largest joint venture in the Chinese automotive industry.

Copyright December 1998, Crain Communications Inc.

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