SAIC-GM-Wuling is establishing a brand new research and development center for its Baojun brand, the National Business Daily reported today. According to an official statement from the joint venture, the new Baojun R&D center will offer comprehensive functions and will provide support for its passenger automobile products.
SAIC-GM-Wuling has already made very impressive strides in the compact MPV market with its Wuling Hongguang, which has achieved considerable success in rural areas. Over 40 percent of the sales in the MPV market are of Hongguang vehicles. SAIC-GM-Wuling hopes to capitalize on this demand to increase its presence in the passenger automobile market.
However, SAIC-GM-Wuling has been facing a significant problem with its Baojun brand, which is used for the JV's passenger automobile products. Technology R&D for the Baojun brand was primarily conducted by the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center, a joint venture established by GM and SAIC Group. Unfortunately, this has lead to pressure from those two companies limiting the effectiveness of SAIC-GM-Wuling's R&D projects, which in turn has slowed down the pace with which the JV releases new models. By establishing a brand new R&D center, SAIC-GM-Wuling will be able to release new additions to its Baojun line at a faster speed.
SAIC-GM-Wuling's new R&D center will be located at its Baojun site in Liuzhou, Guangxi. Construction on the site will be completed by December 2018 and will be divided into four phases. It will help boost the JV's R&D capabilities and allow it to mimic the success its already achieved in the commercial vehicle market in the much more lucrative passenger automobile market. A representative from the JV explains: "The reason that the Wuling Zhiguang and Rongguang gained favorable praise for customers is because we possessed our own independent R&D ability. We discovered that if there were any issues, we could quickly make modifications in line with consumer demands."
SAIC-GM-Wuling already possesses a R&D center for its Wuling brand, which is also located in Liuzhou. SAIC-GM-Wuling officially stopped working with the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center last December, when it completed relocation of its staff to the Liuzhou R&D center. According to the above representative, SAIC-GM-Wuling already possesses some R&D talent specializing in passenger automobiles; this staff will become the new Baojun R&D center's core team.
"If we want to achieve successful development in the long-term, we must establish our own independent R&D ability," the above representative stated. A representative from SAIC-GM-Wuling's PR department further explained: "The new R&D center will be a more professional and standardized technology site, and will greatly aid [the JV's] R&D of new passenger automobiles. Whether or not the two centers will only focus on the Wuling and Baojun brands has yet to be decided; [as] they both use the same system, resources [from the two centers] can be jointly coordinated."