General Motors and China’s Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. have signed a deal under which they will work together to produce new engine and transmission technology. Hu Maoyuan, chairman of SAIC Motor, called it a major milestone that would witness the two companies share key intellectual property and help SAIC move up the industry’s value chain.
“This is the first time a Chinese automaker has collaborated with a leading international group to develop a core technology while sharing intellectual property on a global scale,” Hu said at a signing ceremony in Shanghai. “This boosts SAIC’s efforts to master the core technology and marks movement to the higher end of the value chain,” he added.
Engineers and researchers in Detroit and Shanghai will co-develop a new fuel-efficient engine and front wheel drive transmission, GM Vice Chairman of Global Products Operations Tom Stephens said. The new transmission would be 10 percent more fuel-efficient than conventional six-speed automatic transmissions, he added.
“This really underscores the importance our companies have placed on accelerating the introduction of cleaner, more energy-efficient power trains right here in China,” Stephens said.
The new technology is likely to be available in the market by 2012 at the earliest, GM spokesman Michael Albano said. Under the new agreement, SAIC will be able to use the new technology in its cars.
GM is the market leader in China, which defeated US for the first time last year and became the world’s biggest auto market. The two partners expect to sell more than a million cars in the country this year.