Big plans for 'Beijing' brand cars

Updated: 2011-05-09 10:15

By Han Tianyang (China Daily)

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Big plans for 'Beijing' brand cars
BAIC plans to roll out a mid-sized sedan by the end of the year. [Photo /Provided to China Daily]

BEIJING - The nation's fifth-biggest carmaker Beijing Automotive Industry Corp (BAIC) has laid out a blueprint to join the ranks of the Fortune 500 and the world's top 15 automotive companies by 2015, it announced at the recent Shanghai auto show.

The ambitious goal will be bolstered by its own-brand cars, which is the "most important" of its business plan over the next five years, the company said.

The first passenger car under the company's own brand Beijing will hit the market in the next two months. The subcompact model - code named BC301 - will carry a 1.3-liter or 1.5-liter engine and will be available with manual and automatic transmission options.

Young customers

The product mainly targets young customers that were born in the 1980s, the company said.

BAIC also plans to roll out a mid-sized sedan by the end of the year. The C70G, BAIC's first wholly owned high-end sedan, is based on the Saab 9-5 model.

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At the end of 2009, BAIC bought the Saab 9-3 and 9-5 models as well as engine and transmission technologies from the Swedish carmaker for $200 million in an effort to strengthen its solely owned brand and technology.

Gu Lei, vice-president of BAIC Motor, the publicly traded subsidiary of BAIC Group, said the company has integrated technologies it acquired from Saab and designed new platforms for a compact car, mid-sized coupe, mid- and high-end sedan and full-sized flagship sedan.

The plan calls for development and production of 11 new models - sedans, hatchbacks, MPVs and SUVs - based on the four platforms, he said.

Turbocharged engines

The models will be equipped with turbocharged engines backed by Saab technologies, Gu said. Power produced by the "industry leading" engines range from 130 to 190 kW and from 240 to 350 Nm in torque, he added.

Before BAIC launched its minivan brand Weiwang in March this year, it was the only major Chinese auto group without commercial production of own-brand minivans or cars.

Han Yonggui, president of BAIC Motor, said the first Weiwang model, the 306, and the BC301 could achieve combined sales of 200,000 units a year in the next two to three years.

The company said it will also launch the B40 SUV later this year.

BAIC aims to sell more than 2 million of its own-brand vehicles by 2015, including 700,000 passenger vehicles.

Four production facilities

The carmaker now has four production facilities across the country to make the own-brand vehicles. Its Zhuzhou plant in Hunan province will build economy cars and minivans, while a Chongqing factory will produce minivans.

Its facility in Guangzhou will mainly make SUVs. In its home city Beijing, BAIC will make medium and high-end sedans.

By 2015, the group also aims to have production capacity of 150,000 new-energy vehicles a year.

BAIC sold 1.5 million vehicles last year, an increase of 21 percent over 2009, which generated an estimated 11 billion yuan in profits, a surge of 75 percent.

With the partner of Daimler AG and Hyundai Motor Corp, BAIC also builds the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and C-Class sedans as well as several Hyundai cars and SUVs.


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