BAIC plans for GM Europe include $2bn plant in China

Author: By Sarah Arnott

BAIC wants to sell 500,000 specially revamped GME models ? including the Corsa, Zafira and Astra ? in China by 2015. The plan also includes the creation of a network of 400 dealerships. Initially, the demand would be met by importing 60,000 cars a year, but the company intends to spend $2bn (£1.2bn) on an Opel factory in China, to be opened in 2012.

The deal ? which would give BAIC a 51 per cent stake in GME and leave the US parent company with 49 per cent ? needs GM’s agreement to share new technological developments such as fuel cells and pollution-busting hybrids. It also relies on a six-year, ?2.64bn loan guaranteed by European governments.

The tentative good news for Vauxhall’s 5,000 nervous British workers is that BAIC’s plans to cut more than 7,500 jobs appear to have little effect in the UK. as more than 3,000 will go in Germany, nearly 1,500 in Spain and more than 2,000 in Belgium.

BAIC’s rival bidders for GME are the Canadian parts group Magna, with the backing of Russia’s Sberbank, and RHJ International, a holding company for US buyout group Ripplewood.

The Chinese corporation is a late entrant to the race. Magna was selected as preferred bidder at the end of May, just days before the US parent company went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. But BAIC’s simple, two-page document gained little traction next to more detailed proposals from other bidders.

Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, is expected to meet BAIC executives for the first time in the near future.

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