SAIC opens 150,000-unit plant with Roewe 550

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Shanghai, September 22, 2008 ( Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC)'s new 150,000-unit production facility in Shanghai went into operation last Friday, with the first batch of its own brand car - Roewe 550 rolling off the assembly line at the plant.

The 1.2 million-square-meter plant is located in Lingang Industrial Zone, 75 kilometers south of downtown Shanghai, and cost 2.9 billion yuan (US$424.2 million), said Chen Zhixin, executive vice president of SAIC Motor, to the local newspaper Shanghai Daily.

The first phase will cover around 670,000 square meters, with production capacity projected at 150,000 units annually. But according to its mid-long term plan, it will add another 10 billion yuan investment to boost the plant's capacity to 300,000 complete vehicles and 400,000 engines a year in future, said informed sources.

SAIC has two other plants in Yizheng and Nanjing in Jiangsu Province for production of its own brand vehicles. This third Lingang plant was initially built in 2004 as Shanghai Volkswagen's manufacturing site to produce Skoda brand cars. Due to overcapacity at the joint venture and a slowdown in sales however, the plant was transferred to SAIC for building its own brand in early 2006.

Besides the production bases, SAIC also has three engineering centers in China and overseas for its own brand development scheme. SAIC said it aims to produce 600,000 units of self-designed cars by 2010, including 200,000 units of self-developed passenger cars and 400,000 units of commercial vehicles.

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