18 Dec 2009 13:27

SAIC Motor, A123 to start up battery joint venture

Shanghai. December 18. INTERFAX-CHINA - SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd., one of China's largest auto makers, will form a car battery joint venture with A123 Systems Inc., SAIC Motor announced on Dec. 18.

SAIC Motor and A123, a Nasdaq-listed advanced lithium ion battery maker, will set up the joint venture, Shanghai Advanced Traction Battery Systems Co. Ltd., in Shanghai with a registered capital of $9.5 million. SAIC Motor holds a 51 percent stake in the new company while A123 has the remaining 49 percent.

SAIC Motor is making an ambitious push into fuel efficient and alternative energy vehicles. The Shanghai-based company plans to launch the hybrid Roewe 750 sedan in 2010 and the Roewe 550 plug-in hybrid in 2012, which the company boasts can each reduce fuel consumption by 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

SAIC Motor President Chen Hong recently told Chinese media that it is inevitable that cleaner electric engines will replace traditional combustion engines in the future. SAIC Motor wants to be at the forefront of that transition, he said. The company sold 1.82 million vehicles in 2008.