SAIC Motor to invest up to USD 2 billion in India by decade-end, says top executive

China’s largest car maker eyes annual volumes of 1 million units along with its JV partner JSW Group and plans to bring in a portfolio of compact cars and SUVs.

By Ketan Thakkar calendar 09 May 2024 Views icon8882 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
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SAIC Motor, China’s largest carmaker, plans to invest up to $2 billion in India by this decade’s end and produce and sell over a million vehicles annually along with its joint venture partner JSW Group by then, a top executive told Autocar Professional

“We have a very ambitious plan. We have good cooperation with JSW Group. We are looking at setting up a second plant in India,” said Yu De, the head of international operations and assistant to the president of SAIC Motor, on the sidelines of the recently concluded Beijing auto show.

On SAIC Motor’s investment plans for India, De said a “minimum of” $1-2 billion is lined up for the next five years or so.

The plan is to offer a portfolio of high-tech, affordable vehicles for the Indian market by introducing “a range of products from B SUV to C SUV as well as compact cars”, he added. “We will provide different powertrains to offer choice to Indian customers.”

The JV, JSW MG Motor India, seeks to cater first to the domestic demand, De said while hinting at the venture’s potential for global expansion. According to him, in the long term, the JV aspires to export vehicles to key right-hand drive markets such as Australia and South Africa.

SAIC entered India in 2017 through its British brand MG Motor and started sales in 2019. In March this year, along with JSW Group, it announced the business roadmap for the JV, which aims to capitalise on the significant opportunities emerging in the country’s automotive sector. And the Chinese automaker’s ties with JSW Group could get deeper.

The company “is also open to partnering with” JSW Group to localise battery packs and eventually cells for its electric-vehicle endeavour, said De, adding that SAIC will offer full support to JSW Group’s endeavours at its Odisha base.

The $23 billion JSW Group had announced an investment of Rs 40,000 crore in Odisha to localise cells and batteries. In March, top company executives informed the media that the first set of localised cells would be ready by 2027.

JSW MG Motor India, in which SAIC holds a 49% stake, will leverage synergies across JSW Group’s ecosystem. The JV partners had earlier announced that the venture aims to introduce advanced, futuristic technologies and new-age mobility solutions while enhancing local sourcing by establishing a solid supply chain.

Though the JV aims to build a smart and sustainable EV ecosystem, it would also focus on developing a diverse portfolio of vehicles tailored to meet customers’ unique preferences and requirements.

When JSW Group announced its automotive business foray in March, Parth Jindal, a member of the JV’s Steering Committee, talked about the JV’s vision to sell 1 million vehicles annually by 2030.

Starting this year’s festive season, the JV plans to introduce a new product, including NEVs (New Energy Vehicles), every three to six months. Two vehicles are slated for a 2024 launch.

These modern products with attractive value propositions have given confidence to the JV’s foray into the premium passenger vehicle channel. With a focus on producing NEVs, the venture is investing Rs 5,000 crore in a new plant to lift the annual production capacity at Halol in Gujarat to up to 3,00,000 vehicles from the 1,00,000-plus currently. JSW MG Motor India will also focus on strengthening its research, development, and technical prowess by setting up an R&D centre. The facility will develop connected, new-age, and local mobility solutions.

With carbon neutrality, sustainability and green mobility at the core of its vision, the JV will stay focused on accelerating faster adoption of EVs.

By 2030, the company aims to take a leadership position in the NEV category with an extensive product portfolio.

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