General Motors Co.'s partnership with two Chinese car makers--Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Wuling Motors in Liuzhou, Guangxi--already sells one million entry-level commercial minivans and mini-trucks. Next year, under the new brand, the company will launch its first passenger car model.
Baojun is the Chinese word for "treasured horse." The brand is aimed at the low end of China's fast-growing car market, a segment currently dominated by China's domestic brands, but one GM is eager to tap.
"The introduction of Baojun is part of GM's multi-brand strategy in China," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM's operation in China. "Baojun will complement our other brands sold in China, including our fastest-growing mainstream nameplate, Chevrolet. It will enable us to better address the increasingly segmented Chinese vehicle market."
GM also manufactures Buick and Cadillac cars in China. The first Wuling car model will be a mid-sized sedan based on the Buick Excelle. The car was designed by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, a Shanghai design studio shared by GM and SAIC.
"Baojun is being positioned as a reliable partner with an image that is confident, smart and dependable," said Shen Yang, SAIC-GM-Wuling's general manager. "We aim to surpass customer expectations by creating a brand that combines world-class quality with low ownership costs."
SAIC-GM-Wuling plans to produce 200,000 Baojun vehicles annually by 2012.