China’s largest auto maker, SAIC Motor Corp, said yesterday it will start making MAXUS vans in China as it seeks to tap the commercial vehicle business.
The MAXUS Datong (meaning big wisdom and smooth in Chinese) is the third self-owned brand for SAIC after it took over the British nameplate in 2009. SAIC also has two self-owned passenger car brands – Roewe and MG.
The car maker, a partner of General Motors Corp and Volkswagen, said the first Chinese-made MAXUS vehicle will be a wide-body van that seats 16 passengers and targeting the mid-to-high end segment. The MAXUS will be important in SAIC’s overall commercial vehicle strategy. It will be made in SAIC’s plant in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province, and slated for the market in July this year as well plans for exports.In 2009, SAIC bought the intellectual property rights and technology platforms of MAXUS from the UK’s LDV Group, which went into receivership.
After earning a strong presence in the passenger car business, SAIC is focusing on commercial vehicles as it expects the country’s urbanization and rapidly-growing logistics industry to boost sales, Xiao Guopu, vice president of SAIC Motor, said yesterday.
SAIC also owns a 100,000-units heavy duty truck plant in Chongqing after it teamed up with Iveco SpA, a subsidiary of Italy’s biggest auto maker Fiat, to buy 67 percent in Chongqing Hongyan Motor. SAIC also has plants in Wuxi, Shanghai and Nanjing to make light trucks and vans.