China’s SAIC doubles down on European expansion with EV plant plan

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s SAIC Motor is working on the site selection to build a plant in Europe to produce electric vehicles, the company said on Tuesday, as it presses ahead with it expansion in the region.

The Chinese partner of Volkswagen and General Motors, which did not give further details on the plant plans, said it had sold 530,000 units overseas in the first quarter, an increase of 40% from a year earlier. Nearly 70% of those sales came from its MG brand. Sales of MG cars in Europe more than doubled to 115,000 units in the first half, SAIC added.

The state-owned Chinese automaker estimated its overseas sales could exceed 1.2 million units in 2023. It plans to launch more than 10 new models under the MG brand in the next 18 months globally.

Automakers including Tesla, BMW and BYD are ramping up efforts to export China-made vehicles to other markets as auto demand weakened at home, taking advantage of the lower manufacturing and supply chain costs in China.

SAIC was the biggest exporter among all Chinese automakers in the first five months, according to data from China Passenger Car Association. Britain, Mexico, Australia and India were among its largest overseas markets, the data showed.

(Reporting by Zhang Yan, Brenda Goh and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Louise Heavens)