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Business deals

BAIC Group chairman sees broader Panasonic tie-up

Xu Heyi says the companies are in talks over smart cars

BEIJING -- Beijing Automotive Group and Panasonic are in talks to expand their collaboration to smart cars and self-driving vehicles, the Chinese corporation's chairman said on Saturday.

The Chinese state-owned automaker, also known as BAIC Group, and the Japanese electronics group agreed to set up a joint venture to build key components for electric vehicles.

The move will give BAIC better access to the latest technology and Panasonic a wider avenue to the world's largest automobile market.

"Our tie-up with Panasonic has been going smoothly, and we hope to move it faster," Chairman Xu Heyi said. Xu also said more joint ventures could be on the way.

BAIC produces luxury cars in a joint venture with Daimler, and the German group has a stake in a BAIC electric vehicle subsidiary. Xu said the recent large purchase of Daimler shares by Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, a Chinese private-sector carmaker, will not affect his company's business with Daimler.

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