SHANGHAI -- General Motors Co. will develop electric cars in China with SAIC Motor Corp. as the partners look to meet government demands for more low-emission vehicles in the world's largest auto market.
GM and SAIC, China's biggest domestic automaker, will design the electric cars and develop components for them at an existing joint venture in China, the two companies said in a statement.
Electric cars will be "a key component in our current five-year plan in China," Tim Lee, GM's head of international operations, said at an event in Shanghai Tuesday to announce the initiative.
Automakers including Daimler AG and Nissan Motor Co. have announced plans to add alternative-energy vehicles in China as the world's largest polluter seeks to reduce emissions. The government aims to have 1 million electric-powered vehicles on the road by 2015, according to the Ministry of Science.
GM plans to introduce 60 new and upgraded models in the country during the next five years, the company said during the Shanghai auto show in April. GM and SAIC operate ten joint ventures in the nation. Their mini commercial vehicle partnership sells the Wuling Sunshine minivan, China's best-selling vehicle last year.
Vehicle sales are forecast to slow this year in China, after sales-tax breaks and rebates for rural buyers ended in January and following central bank interest-rate rises.
Overall sales in the first eight months of the year rose 3.3 percent to 12 million units, with passenger-car sales gaining 6.1 percent to 9.2 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said on Sept. 9. Deliveries climbed 32 percent last year.