The success of SAIC’s Hector SUV this year helped Indian consumers change their perception of Chinese automobiles, providing a strong launchpad for Great Wall and Changan.
Workers inspect vehicles at a workshop of a production base of Great Wall Motors in Yongchuan, Chongqing, China October 22, 2019. Picture taken October 22, 2019. China Daily via REUTERS/File Photo
Chinese automakers Great Wall Motor and Changan Automobile are accelerating plans to build cars in India after the initial success of rival SAIC Motors in one of the world’s biggest markets, three sources said. Great Wall, one of the biggest sellers of sports-utility vehicles (SUV) in China, expects to secure a production site in the first half of 2020, likely a General Motors plant in Maharashtra, a source familiar with Great Wall’s plans said. Buying a factory is seen as the best way to get up and running fast and Great Wall is finalising which SUVs it plans to make in India, including whether to kick off its launch with an electric SUV, the source told Reuters. Great Wall said it would make an announcement next month about its plans for India but declined further comment.
A spokesman for GM in Detroit said it was continuing to make vehicles for export at its Talegaon plant in Maharashtra state. “As we have said previously, we continue to explore options to improve the utilisation of the plant. We do not comment on speculation,” he said. Changan, too, is scouting for a production base and has held initial talks with suppliers, sources aware of its plans said. Both automakers, which produce electric vehicles (EVs) in China, are also considering whether to set up EV battery assembly plants in India, the sources said. Changan declined to comment.