General Motors is planning to launch a new production line dedicated to building crossovers in a plant in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Set to go online in the first half of 2017, the new line will build such vehicles as the all-new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox for the Chinese market. The development marks the first time that the Equinox crososver will be sold in China, thereby becoming the brand’s third crossover in the market after the subcompact Chevrolet Trax and compact-midsize tweener Chevrolet Captiva. The plant currently produces passenger cars such as the popular Buick Excelle.
Owned by Shanghai General Motors (SGM), a joint venture between General Motors and China’s SIAC, the Wuhan plant is a modern facility that opened its doors in early 2015 with an annual production capacity of 360,000 vehicles. The new crossover production line, which represents a 7.5 billion yuan (1.1 billion USD) investment, has been under construction since the plant’s opening and will essentially double capacity to a cumulative 600,000 units per year.
According to Chinese news source Xinhua, vehicles manufactured at the plant have generated nearly 23 billion yuan ($3.4 billion USD) in revenue for Shanghai GM in the first nine moths of 2016.
At a press conference in Mach, GM China President Matt Tsien stated that recreational vehicles and luxury vehicles will continue to grow in China, with SUVs and MPVs set to account for 40 percent of GM China’s overall growth leading up to 2020.
For the North American market, the new Equinox will be produced at GM’s CAMI plant in Canada. Overflow production in Mexico is possible if demand necessitates it.