BEIJING -- BAIC Group and ride-hailing service provider Didi Chuxing plan to team up to lease BAIC's cars to customers amid concerns about ride hailing and vehicle sharing eating into car sales.
The companies, which operate a joint venture to develop "next-generation connected-car systems," will partner with electric-vehicle battery maker CATL, State Grid, Postal Savings Bank of China and online used-vehicle trading platform Uxin to build an "exchange of car use right."
They aim to have a fleet of 100,000 cars available for leasing in the next three years, the companies said in a statement released Saturday.
Yang Jun, vice president of SoftBank-backed Didi, told an online press conference that Didi will explore more leasing projects in the future including car-rental and -sharing services.
China, the world's biggest auto market where more than 25 million vehicles were sold last year, also is the world's biggest ride-hailing market.
Auto executives have expressed concerns that new-vehicle sales will be disrupted by passengers' growing ride-hailing use. As a result, Didi launched joint ventures with several automakers, including Volkswagen and BYD, while SAIC Motor and Great Wall operate their own ride-hailing services.
General Motors Co.'s Cadillac brand also launched its first leasing project in China this year.
Research by consulting firms Bain & Co. and Deloitte show fewer customers in China's big cities think owning a car represents their social status or that it is a symbol of their identity.
Industrywide auto sales fell 8.2 percent last year, pressured by a slowing economy, new emissions standards and the impact of China-U.S. trade tension.