General Motors is planning to spend $5 billion over the next several years to develop a new range of technology-rich small cars, based on a common architecture, that will be built and sold under the Chevrolet name in China, Brazil, India, Mexico and other emerging markets.
GM, which is co-developing the architecture and engines with Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp., aims to have the first of the cars in production by 2019 and expects the program eventually to account for sales of more than two million vehicles a year, GM President Dan Ammann said.
Through the effort, GM is hoping to leverage its scale and leap ahead of competitors in markets that are expected to drive much of the global growth in automobile sales over the next 15 years.
“We are making clear where we see growth opportunities and where we are placing our bets,” Ammann said. “We are making an investment in the future of the company.”
The program also reflects a shift in how automakers are approaching emerging markets, where consumers and regulators are quickly demanding more advanced technology in vehicles.
In the past, Western automakers typically served these markets with very low-cost, bare-bones cars, or produced stripped-down versions of vehicles that had reached the end of their product lives in mature markets.
Ammann said GM believes neither approach will work in the future.