General Motors Co. and China's largest domestic carmaker, SAIC Motor Corp., will be developing electric vehicles in an effort to meet government requirements for more low-emission rides in China, the biggest automobile market in the world. The partners will design the vehicles and develop the parts at an existing joint venture in the country, the two companies have disclosed.
According to GM's head of international operations, Tim Lee, electric vehicles will be "a key component" in their current five-year plan for the country.
Vehicle manufacturers such as Nissan Motor Co. and Daimler AG have revealed plans to add alternative-energy cars in the country in order to reduce emissions. According to the Ministry of Science, the government is targeting 1 million electric-powered cars on the road by 2015.
GM intends to launch 60 new and upgraded vehicle models in China during the next five years, the company previously announced in April during the Shanghai motor show. SAIC and GM operate ten joint ventures in the country, and their mini commercial car partnership sells the Wuling Sunshine minivan, which is a bestseller in China in 2010.
Car sales are expected to slow down in 2011 in the country, after sales-tax rebates and breaks for rural buyers ended in January and following central bank interest-rate increases.
Total sales in the first eight months of this year increased to 12 million units or 3.3 percent, with passenger-car sales rising to 9.2 million units or 6.1 percent, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers disclosed on Sept. 9. Deliveries gained 32 percent last year.