October 23, 2019 / 9:39 AM / a month ago

China's BAIC to launch intelligent cars under new brand: chairman

FILE PHOTO: People clean the floor at the stall of the BAIC Group automobile maker at the IEEV New Energy Vehicles Exhibition in Beijing, China October 18, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s Beijing Automotive Group Co (BAIC Group) [BEJINS.UL] will develop intelligent cars under a new brand, BEIJING, and hopes to cooperate with its partner Daimler on intelligent connected vehicle technologies, its chairman Xu Heyi said.

BAIC launched its new BEIJING brand last week in the latest push to gain market share in the world’s largest auto market. Other than BAIC’s current electric vehicle brand BJEV, BEIJING will focus on intelligent connected vehicle technologies, Xu told an industry conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

BAIC said in an article on social media that the company will invest 20 billion yuan ($2.83 billion) to develop new product platforms for its BEIJING brand.

BAIC hopes to cooperate with its joint venture partner Daimler AG on intelligent connected vehicle technologies in the future, Xu told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference, without elaborating.

BAIC, which has been Daimler’s main partner in China for years, operating Mercedes-Benz factories in Beijing through joint venture Beijing Benz Automotive, bought a 5% stake in Daimler in July. The partners also make trucks via another joint venture Foton Daimler Automotive.

Daimler plans to adjust its production line at Foton Daimler to build Mercedes-Benz branded trucks with BAIC, Reuters reported in August. Daimler and BAIC’s new energy vehicle unit BluePark have jointly developed a battery research lab in Beijing, the companies said earlier.

BAIC bought the stake in Daimler after Li Shufu, chairman of China’s Zhejiang Geely Holding Group [GEELY.UL], built a 9.69 percent stake in Stuttgart-based Daimler in early 2018.

“We have finished our stake investment in Daimler,” said Xu. “We do not have plans to increase our stake.”

Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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