General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partner SAIC Motor Corp. signed an agreement today in Shanghai to develop parts and vehicle platforms for electric cars in China.
The Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) – SAIC and GM’s engineering and design joint venture in Shanghai – will serve as the development center for the new electric car architecture. Joint teams from the parent companies will also cooperate on the development of key components and vehicle structures.
The agreement will leverage SAIC’s market knowledge and local expertise along with GM’s expertise in electric car development and global know-how. It will ensure local input in the development of electric car technology and the delivery of products developed in China.
The electric car architecture will be the first to be co-developed by the two companies. Their Shanghai GM joint venture introduced the Sail electric concept vehicle late last year. Establishing PATAC as the engineering lead for the electric car architecture demonstrates not just the strength of the GM-SAIC partnership, but also the confidence and trust the companies have in one another to accomplish an aggressive and challenging project.
Under the agreement, teams of SAIC, GM and PATAC engineers will work together to develop key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures. Vehicles resulting from the partnership will be sold in China under Shanghai GM and SAIC brands. SAIC and GM will also use the architecture to build electric vehicles around the globe for their own purposes. Product details and timing will be announced at a later date.
Accelerating the introduction of roadworthy technologies such as this future electric car architecture is more important than ever, following the announcement of a number of more stringent emission and fuel consumption regulations around the world, including China.
Today’s agreement is a follow-up to the non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) on strategic cooperation signed by SAIC and GM on Nov. 3, 2010. The two automakers had pledged to reinforce their collaboration in certain core areas of their business, including the development of new energy vehicles and the creation of a stronger and more integrated role for PATAC to work on future vehicles and powertrains. GM and SAIC are making an equal investment in the project.
SAIC and GM are partners in 10 joint ventures in China, which are engaged in vehicle and powertrain manufacturing, sales and aftersales, automotive engineering and design, automotive finance and telematics, and the sale of used vehicles. The companies’ manufacturing joint ventures, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, are market leaders in China. In addition, SAIC and GM operate a joint venture in India and SAIC is an investor in GM Korea Co.