Chinese state-owned automaker shares plans to expand and build its EVs in Europe

SAIC Motor, a Chinese state-owned automaker, is doubling down on its EV strategy in Europe following encouraging sales so far this year. The massive automaker recently shared plans to erect a new EV production facility overseas, to help deliver models to its growing audience in the market.

SAIC Motor (aka Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation) is currently a global Fortune 100 company and a member of the “big four” Chinese state-owned automakers transitioning to EVs – whether its in its home country, other parts of Asia, and now Europe. In addition to its own domestic sales in China, SAIC operates multiple joint ventures with other global automakers, including SAIC-Volkwagen, responsible for delivering the VW, Skoda, and Audi marques to Chinese customers.

SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile (SGMW) remains a major joint-venture overseas, producing commercial and consumer vehicles under the Wuling and Baojun brands. If you include its joint ventures, SAIC Motor exists as one of the largest plug-in electric vehicle companies, in addition to being the second largest strictly BEV company in the world.

Long before it was pumping out EVs, Chinese state-owned SAIC began its entry into Europe by investing in UK-based MG Motor. Fellow state-owned company Nanjing Automobile had acquired the British automaker in 2005, helping reintroduce new models donning the “MG” badge for the first time in a decade, although they were being built in China.

Two years later, SAIC wholly acquired Nanjing Automobile and established MG Motor UK Limited under its new SAIC Motor UK sub-brand. Today, MG Motor continues to grow in popularity in China, the UK, parts of Asia, and Europe. In fact, the Chinese automaker estimates its overseas sales may exceed 1.2 million units this year alone – a huge majority of which coming from MG EVs in Europe

To satisfy this appetite overseas, SAIC shared intentions to establish EV production in its growing market.

SAIC looks to add to growing list of Chinese EVs in Europe

SAIC Motor detailed its plans for expansion in Europe this week, including a new dedicated EV site somewhere in the region – although exactly where remains unknown. The automaker did share that it sold 530,000 units overseas in the first quarter of 2023, up 40% compared to a year ago.

SAIC also relayed that nearly 70% of those sales came from the MG brand in Europe alone. That market saw more than double sales in the first half of 2023 (115,000 units). In the first five months of this year, SAIC Motor has remained the largest exporter of Chinese automakers, garnering a growing demand for EVs from MG Motor in Europe.

The state-owned automaker joined other private Chinese companies like NIO, XPeng, and BYD in a growing expansion of EV offerings in Europe. None of these companies have entered the US market yet however – some have shared intentions to someday, other have not.

Smaller, more sustainable, and EV-centric countries like those in Scandinavia have been seeing the influx of Chinese EVs first, but other territories like the Netherlands and Germany are also starting to see showrooms and sales. This could offer a hint as to where SAIC Motor might inevitably be looking to set up shop for EU production, but we won’t know for sure until the automaker divulges that information.

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