General Motors has just appointed Ritch Schaafsma as the new Executive Vice President of SAIC-GM-Wuling, the automaker’s second joint venture in China that markets the Wuling and Baojun brands. Schaafsma will start on June 1st at the company’s headquarters located in the city of Liuzhou, in the Guangxi region of the Asian country.
In his new leadership role as SGMW Executive Vice President, Ritch Schaafsma will report to General Motors Executive Vice President and GM China President Julian Blissett. His mission is to accelerate the transformation of the two joint venture brands in order to increase their competitiveness in the Chinese market, while capitalizing on Wuling’s international expansion as a global brand.
“Ritch brings to his new role extensive global and local experience in corporate development and business expansion,” said Julian Blissett in a statement. “He will support the continued growth of SAIC-GM-Wuling’s brands and business as the joint venture expands its global footprint,” he added.
Since 2020, Ritch Schaafsma has served as Vice President of Business Expansion at GM China, where he oversaw the development of new business models to improve profitability and General Motors’ growth in the country. Schaafsma previously served for three years as Vice President of Corporate Development for GM China.
SGMW is a three-way joint venture between GM China, SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, formed on November 18, 2002. It is highly popular and known for its wide range of Wuling Hong Guang commercial mini-buses that have led in sales for several years now in China. At the end of 2018, SGMW launched a strategy to expand its business to the passenger-car market.
In the era of automotive industry transformation, SGMW has made significant progress in promoting and repositioning its brands while actively driving the mass adoption of electric vehicles in the country. The new Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV, which launched in July 2020, quickly became the best-selling electric vehicle in China, and since the first quarter of this year, it’s the best-selling EV in the world.