Chinese Automaker SAIC Sets up Shop Near Detroit


Chinese automaker SAIC might be no stranger to building and selling cars to the west, but its newest move outside of China might be it's boldest yet. SAIC just announced it will set up a new operations center in Michigan, paving the way for a new American presence for the Chinese company.

SAIC holds the title of China's largest car company, having produced over 3.5 million units last year worldwide. SAIC is also one of the original Chinese carmakers to engage in joint ventures with non-Chinese companies: it currently makes cars for both Volkswagen and General Motors. Through a wave of mergers and acquisitions in the late 2000s, SAIC acquired British automaker MG Rover, and currently produces the MG 6 sedan in Longbridge, England.

This past week, the company's American subsidiary, SAIC USA Inc., opened its new Operations Center in the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, Michigan. The 30,000-square-foot plant will house about 100 employees.

SAIC said in a release late last week that the new American subsidiary and the new operations center have three main goals: to create relationships with North American suppliers, facilitate the importation and export of parts and components, and design and engineer vehicle parts and other components.

It's unclear at this point whether or not the Chinese company will expand its presence beyond those goals in the near future, or – perhaps more importantly – we’re going to see SAIC’s vehicles sold in our country any time soon. It’s more likely that SAIC is looking to further extend its ties with GM and network with suppliers, but we suppose marketing an SAIC – or MG – vehicle isn’t entirely out of the question.

Source: SAIC USA

David Knowles
One small point you didn't pick up on - SAIC owns MG and at present a lot of the design and engineering work for the MG range and the closely related China-only 'Roewe' brand cars (a play on the 'Rover' name which Ford held on to before selling on to Tata) is done by a team of 300 based at the former Austin works at Longbridge, England - at another Birmingham. So SAIC seems to like the name 'Birmingham'; as far as I know, there are no plans to tie up with Mercedes at their plant in Birmingham Alabama - but who knows what the future may hold? And that is without playing with the palindromic connotations of the possibilities of an MG with GM bits in it...

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