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Great Wall Motor to buy Indian plant from GM

Chinese automaker eyes new growth engine while US rival beats a retreat

Great Wall Motor is believed to be considering production of SUVs and electric vehicles in India.   © Reuters

BEIJING -- China's Great Wall Motor will acquire an automobile factory in India from General Motors, the automaker announced Friday, making a full-fledged entry into the country as it seeks growth drivers outside its shrinking home market.

The plant in the western state of Maharashtra produces vehicles for export by GM, which ended Indian sales in 2017. The value of the transaction was not disclosed in Friday's announcement, but media reports put the purchase price at up to $300 million. The deal is to close in the latter half of this year.

GM will offer separation packages and transition support to affected employees, and the American automaker is expected to exit India after selling the plant.

Great Wall, whose sales edged up 1% last year to 1.06 million vehicles, is accelerating expansion overseas amid stagnation in China. Overall new-auto sales in the world's largest market slumped 8% last year to 25.77 million, data released this week shows, and the outlook this year is little brighter.

The privately owned Chinese automaker is believed to be considering production of sport utility vehicles -- one of its specialties -- and electrics in India. The company launched a joint electric-auto venture with BMW last year.

"The Indian market has great potential, rapid economic growth and a good investment environment," said Liu Xiangshang, the automaker's vice president for global strategy. "Entering the Indian market is an important step for Great Wall Motor's global strategy."

New-auto sales in India sank 13% in 2019 to 3.81 million.

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