The domestic car market saw ups and downs in 2016. Facing severe challenges from market fluctuations, SAIC seized opportunities on the market and rolled out new products. While the group’s joint-venture brands maintained stable growth, its self-owned brands made great progress.
In 2016, SAIC Volkswagen sold more than 2 million vehicles, up 10.5 percent year-on-year, becoming China’s first passenger vehicle company whose sales topped 2 million. SAIC Maxus sold 1.89 million vehicles, up 7.7 percent year-on-year. SGMW continued to be the first in terms of sales for a single brand as its sales rose 4.4 percent year-on-year to 2.13 million units. Sales of passenger vehicles under the group’s self-owned brands surged 89.2 percent year-on-year to 322,000 units, while its self-owned commercial vehicle marque Maxus saw sales hit 46,000 units, an increase of 31.6 percent, despite a steep drop seen by the Chinese light van market.
More importantly, SAIC actively worked in the fields of electric vehicles, internet connection, intelligent technology and solutions for sharing. It continued to flex its muscles in R&D and marketing, and rolled out innovative products through technological innovations. It maintained a strong momentum in innovation-driven development as it adopted innovative models to spur business transformation.
New energy vehicles
Currently, SAIC is capable of mass-producing the first-generation EDU intelligent electric power transmission, with key technological breakthroughs made in the second-generation EDU. It has also kicked off mass-production of its self-owned battery management system. In 2016, plugin hybrids Roewe e950 (sedan) and eRX5 (SUV), as well as pure electric Maxus MPV EG10, successfully debuted on the market. Sales of new energy vehicles under SAIC’s self-owned brands jumped 80 percent year-on-year to surpass 20,000 units.
Car on internet
As the world’s first mass-produced car on the internet, Roewe RX5 offers internet access inside the car and, through cooperation with Alibaba group, provides online resources covering communication, maps, music, and car maintenance. It has realized human-machine interaction, real-time internet access and service updates, allowing the car to “run on the internet”.
RX5’s sales exceeded 90,000 units in less than half a year from its launch. Supply was unable to meet demand, and more than 70 percent of the orders were for internet-based version.
So far, SAIC has set up an application development platform for T-Box, virtual instruments and other hardware, as well as internet systems, making the first step in building self-owned future “cars on the internet” and their ecosystem.
Intelligent driving car
SAIC has completed the development of two generations of intelligent vehicle platforms, as well as the internet of Cars platform that integrates 5G communications technology. It has also conducted research in self-driving technology.
SAIC and Tongji University have jointly built China’s first intelligent assessment base, occupying an area of 91 hectares. The base’s testing area provides simulation of trunk roads, intersections and intelligent parking lots, as well as various natural conditions such as rain, fog and ice, and a total of 105 traffic scenes that include pedestrians, non-motor vehicles and other unpredictable road situations. SAIC’s self-driving cars have run for more than 20,000 km each in various tests.
Despite Chinese carmakers suffering from declining exports, SAIC exported 118,000 vehicles in the first half of 2016, up 48 percent year-on-year, taking first position in China for the first time. SAIC earned foreign exchange totaling $2.82 billion through exports, up more than 60 percent year-on-year.
It has set up business networks in Europe, North America, South America, ASEAN, Africa and Australia, comprising frontier research, R&D and production, marketing services, investment and financing platforms, and international trade. It has 73 overseas car parts facilities, which supply products to developed markets such as the US, the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, and has made initial progress in multinational operation. Moreover, SAIC has kicked off construction on a new plant in Thailand, and is pushing forward construction of a vehicle and parts park in Indonesia as planned. The park will be up and running in the third quarter of 2017.
In 2016, SAIC set up a new subsidiary, the Shanghai Chexiangjia Automotive Technology Service Co, by restructuring its sales and service businesses. The e-commerce business also accelerated the establishment of service networks across the country and gradually took charge of all services concerning new and second-hand car sales. The first round of fund-raising with Chexiangjia as the main entity has been completed, signaling the first step in capital, business and mechanism innovation. So far, the number of Chexiangjia outlets has increased to 700.
In 2016, SAIC set up a new car rental company through the integration of resources. The company is stepping up efforts to seize strategic resources and accelerating its expansion to other Chinese cities, while exploring a set of new platforms and systems, which will cover operation, management, service and settlement, in order to improve user experiences. By the end of 2016, the company had put 8,400 new energy cars into use, set up 2,800 outlets and attracted 330,000 registered members, offering services in 20 cities. Based in Shanghai, the company aims to expand its business across the whole country and abroad.
SAIC aims to lift its image and improve its “soft power” through enhanced branding with the help of sports and cultural platforms. In 2016, the group carried out strategic cooperation with the Shanghai SIPG Football Club, and signed a cooperation agreement with the Shanghai Grand Theatre Arts Center, under which the Shanghai Culture Square was renamed into the “SAIC Shanghai Culture Square”. SAIC also collaborated with the Shanghai Shendi Group to provide services to the Shanghai International Tourism and Resorts Zone. It actively worked to establish a reliable, responsible and innovative image and increase its brand influence.
In the future, SAIC will continue to seize new opportunities and adhere to innovation-driven transformation. It will step up efforts to sharpen its core competitive edge, work earnestly toward its goals of achieving global operation and build itself into a world-famous auto company with international competitiveness and brand influence, and make contributions of Chinese auto industry’s growth.