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GM In Talks To Boost Stake In SAIC-GM-Wuling JV

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Shanghai, November 12, 2008: ( General Motors Corp is in talks to increase its stake in a Chinese joint venture that makes small, inexpensive vans and trucks, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

The U.S. car maker is in negotiations with the government of Guangxi province in southwestern China to expand its stake in SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., said Hu Maoyuan, chairman of Chinese car maker Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., which is a majority owner of the Wuling venture.

Hu said Shanghai Automotive wasn't involved in the talks and therefore could not provide details. An official at the Guangxi State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission, the regional government agency that owns Liuzhou Wuling, confirmed that it is in talks with GM, but wouldn't elaborate. Officials at Liuzhou Wuling couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

Henry Wong, GM's Shanghai-based spokesman, declined to comment, saying all business discussions with its partners are confidential and the company has nothing to announce.

SAIC is the majority shareholder of the venture with 50.1 percent, GM owns 34 percent and Liuzhou Wuling Motors Co. holds the rest. The report said GM is seeking to boost market share in the world's fastest- growing major economy, where the venture alone accounts for about half its local sales.

"Having more stakes in a venture like that will help GM sell more vehicles in China," said Wang Liusheng, an analyst with China Merchants Securities Co in Shenzhen, adding that GM may also want to expand its product lineup by building sedans in the venture.

GM sold 1.03 million vehicles in China last year, about 11 percent of its global total. The company is the biggest overseas automaker in the country in terms of total sales. Combined nine-month vehicle sales at its Chinese ventures rose 9.3 percent to 785,144, according to Bloomberg.

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