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GM Opens New Plant in China

Plant will produce 150,000 vehicles annually beginning next year

Beleaguered automaker General Motors opened up a new joint venture manufacturing plant in northeast China on Dec. 17 which will begin churning out up to 150,000 vehicles annually beginning next year.

The joint venture plant in Shenyang city will mass produce the compact Chevrolet Cruze from the second quarter of 2009.

"The opening of this plant is part of GM's ongoing pledge to grow our operations in China," said Kevin Wale, president of the GM China Group. The plant will be operated by General Motors China and its joint venture partners Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group and Shanghai GM.

The joint venture plant is the second for GM in Shenyang. The first plant makes the Buick GL8 and the Buick FirstLand executive wagons and boasts a capacity of 50,000 vehicles annually.

Despite the troubles in the U.S., the China market has remained profitable for the automaker where it was the market leader until last year when it was overtaken by Volkswagen in sales. "We are continuing our investment in China and actually we are very profitable in China," Henry Wong, GM's Shanghai-based spokesman, said last month. He said that various investment projects GM had committed to were "all on target and on track."

These also included expansion projects for existing plants in the cities of Qingdao and Yantai, both in east China's Shandong province, he said. "We are not withdrawing or holding back any investment in China," he said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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