Shanghai GM’s new Wuhan Branch just saw its inaugural Buick Excelle compact sedan roll off the line, marking the start of production for the $1.12 billion manufacturing plant. It is the fourth manufacturing facility erected in the country by the SAIC-GM partnership.
According to an official press release, the plant has an annual production capacity of 240,000 units, although further investments in expansion are already planned. A $1.2 billion second phase investment in the plant will just about double the facility’s capacity when it reaches production in 2017, and an additional $1.6 billion will be put into Powertrain projects.
Shanghai GM’s Wuhan Branch is a thoroughly modern production facility, with 452 robots total throughout the plant. In fact, General Motors is boasting a 97 percent automation rate in the facility’s body shop. Considering the rapid rate of maturation of the Chinese marketplace, and the impressively high demand already (Shanghai GM sold a staggering 1.7 million vehicles in 2014), this certainly won’t be the last massive investment made by General Motors in Chinese production.