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SHANGHAI, China: Shanghai General Motors on Saturday completed construction of a new factory that will more than double the annual capacity of its flagship joint venture to 320,000 vehicles.
The new South Plant at GM's facility in eastern Shanghai's Pudong district immediately began production of the mid-sized Buick Excelle sedan. Plans call for it to also build the Cadillac CTS luxury sedan in the future.
The new factory will have an initial production capacity of 160,000 vehicles, employing 941 workers, GM officials said.
It "gives us the ability to continue expanding our product lineup in order to capture more opportunities in what is expected to remain the world's fastest-growing vehicle market,'' said Chris Gubby, executive vice president of Shanghai GM.
The facility is part of US$3 billion (euro2.4 billion) in investments that General Motors Corp. is pouring into China to keep up with growing demand.
Shanghai GM, a joint venture between GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., has two factories in Shanghai and also manages a joint venture in the eastern city of Yantai, Shanghai GM Dong Yue Motors Co. It has another factory in the northeastern city of Shenyang, Shanghai GM (Shenyang) Norsom Motors Co. Ltd. Their combined annual production capacity is almost 500,000.
Shanghai GM's sales in 2004 rose 25.7 percent on-year to 252,869 vehicles.
China has become the world's fastest-growing auto market, although GM and other automakers have seen growth in sales slow sharply due to rising competition and efforts by the Chinese government to slow economic growth. - AP
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