GM China chief hints at GM joining forces with China's SAIC in SE Asia
Bob Socia - GM's chief since Oct. 1 in the world's biggest car market - said SAIC's low-cost vehicle technology was important to the American's firm's push into emerging markets.
SAIC's technology for producing cars priced as low as 30,000 yuan ($4,800) is especially critical to GM's effort to come up with decent cars with a price tag acceptable to rising middle-class buyers in markets like China, India, and Indonesia. "Products we're producing out of our joint-venture operations with SAIC serve up very well in emerging countries," Socia, who is also GM's head of operations in India and Southeast Asia, said in a recent interview in Shanghai.
In China, he replaced Kevin Wale, who retired. SAIC, China's biggest carmaker, became a 50-percent partner in GM's India operations in 2010.
It nearly reversed that in October by cutting the stake to 9 percent, a move widely seen as a possible chill in the relationship.
It came as GM's sales in India fell 21 percent in the first half of the fiscal year that began in April. GM and SAIC also struggled to convert two low-cost small cars they sell in China into right-hand-drive models for India, delaying key products.
Socia and other GM executives who spoke with Reuters in Shanghai
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