As Pickups Grow in Popularity in China, GM Eyes a Major Role
According to Reuters, paperwork submitted to the country’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology seeks a green light for a joint venture between GM, state-owned SAIC Motor (owner of the British MG brand), and Guangxi Automobile Group to build a new truck. The baby resulting from this plan would be a pickup named Zhengtu.
GM is already intricately tied up with SAIC. The automaker’s main partner in the Chinese market, SAIC owns a majority stake in SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., Ltd., a joint venture in which Guangxi holds a 5.9 percent stake. That JV builds Wuling brand mini-trucks and Baojun vehicles.
While pickup volume remains low in the world’s largest auto market (slightly more than a quarter-million were sold through July), the segment seems resilient to the economic downturns plaguing the country. It also has the potential to grow exponentially.
Data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers shows that, while new vehicle volume fell 12.7 percent through the first seven months of 2020, pickup sales dropped only by 1.4 percent.
GM won’t be without competition. Currently, Great Wall Motor wears the pickup crown, with the recent introduction of its P-series models sending the brand’s sales up 38 percent through July. Chinese mega-conglomerate Geely also plans to build a new pickup assembly plant with an annual capacity of 100,000 vehicles.