NHTSA administrator visits SAIC, other Chinese carmakers that plan their US debut

Article by Christian A., on April 24, 2011

The United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration revealed that SAIC Motor Corp., the largest domestic carmaker in China, is included in a list of Chinese companies that plan to offer their models in the US market. NHTSA’s administrator David Strickland went to Shanghai and visited several automakers.

Strickland made a stop at the car production plant of SAIC where he talked about the safety standards that the US agency imposes. As the growth in China has slowed, carmakers based in China like SAIC, Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. and Great Wall Motor Co. want to get into exports.

The Chinese government has ended incentives and the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers takes this to mean that in 2011, deliveries in China will not reach the initial growth forecasts of between 10 percent and 15 percent.

J.D. Power said that it is estimated that Chinese domestic brands will be able to match the quality of international brands between 2015 and 2018. In an interview, Strickland said that when a vehicle is made available to the market, the agency will give it the same treatment regardless of where the carmaker is based.

Judy Zhu, SAIC’s spokeswoman, said that the company is focused on its overseas businesses in the U.K. and India and that there are no plans to offer its cars in the U.S. Jacob George, managing director at J.D. Power Asia Pacific, said that the difference in the quality of foreign and domestic brands is getting smaller.

He said that Chinese brands have hired skilled overseas professionals. Its parts are being supplied by multinational companies that also sell parts to other global automakers. He also shared that these Chinese carmakers are now using the recognized quality production processes.

SAIC is a Chinese state-owned auto design and manufacturing company that is regarded as one of the largest state-owned carmakers in China.

SAIC has its origins to the Shanghai Diesel Parts Manufacturing Company that was formed in 1955. In 1958, Shanghai Diesel Parts Manufacturing Company merged with Shanghai Power Equipment Manufacturing Co. to form the Shanghai Power Machinery Manufacturing Co.

In 1960, Shanghai Power Machinery Manufacturing was renamed as Shanghai Agricultural Machinery Manufacturing Company and as Shanghai Tractor & Automotive Industry Company in 1969.

In 1990, Shanghai Tractor & Automotive Industry Company changed its name to the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation. In 1995, the word ‘Group’ was included into the name. Then, Shanghai Automotive Co. Ltd was formed in 2004 when the company reorganized. In 2007, the carmaker became SAIC Motor Co. Ltd.

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Topics: nhtsa, saic



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