SAIC-GM-Wuling, General Motors’ second joint venture in China, announced the construction start of the new Wuling Smart and Lean BEV plant exclusively for next-generation all-electric vehicles in the Asian country.
The automaker held a special ceremony to celebrate its first 20 years of operations and officially lay the foundation stone for the new Wuling Smart and Lean BEV plant in the city of Liuzhou in China, where SGMW’s headquarters and largest plants are located. This factory will become the company’s largest zero-emission vehicle manufacturing center.
SGMW’s new Wuling Smart and Lean BEV plant will be the first vehicle production center to adopt the “Smart Island” method, a new manufacturing modality that seeks to revolutionize electric vehicle production by transforming the industry’s century-old serial assembly line automotive in a more flexible and efficient layout. The plant will have two assembly lines and new intelligent robots developed by the manufacturer itself.
Designed to be the “most flexible assembly facility in the automotive industry,” the new Wuling Smart and Lean BEV plant will introduce ‘assembly island’ mode with a main line responsible for mass assembly and a split sub-line performing custom sub-assembly. The company claims that this method will allow it to create high-quality EVs that meet the personalized needs of users.
Although no timeline has been officially announced yet, the new Wuling Smart and Lean BEV plant is expected to be operational by the end of next year or early 2024. This important step will strengthen SGMW’s leadership in the EV segment in China, where the Wuling MINI EV leads sales by far and became the fastest electric car to surpass one million units sold globally.
In addition to breaking ground on its upcoming industrial center as part of its 20th anniversary, the joint venture has also just started production of the all-new left-hand-drive Wuling Air EV in China for the local market. This comes several months after the world debut of the right-hand drive minicar and the start of production of the model in Indonesia. The new Air EV will be launched in the Chinese market shortly.