AM Online

Former GM executive joins SAIC

Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), the Chinese partner of General Motors, has hired former GM China chief Philip Murtaugh as it prepares to compete against GM and other automakers by building its own brand of cars.

The 51-year-old Murtaugh, former chairman and chief executive officer at GM's China operations, will begin work today as an executive vice president at China's second-biggest carmaker.

Murtaugh will be responsible for SAIC's overseas operations including business expansion and coordinating product lineups and global sourcing between the domestic and overseas markets, according to a company statement.

He worked for GM for 32 years including 10 years in markets outside North America such as Britain and Japan. As such, he has played a key role in leading GM expansion into emerging markets.

Murtaugh was executive vice general manager of Shanghai General Motors Corp, GM's jointly owned car venture with SAIC, in 1996 before he served as chief exective of GM China from 2000 to 2005.

SAIC, which cooperates with GM and Volkswagen AG in China, has been developing its business in overseas markets, partly through acquisitions.

The company's first self-branded model will be based on Rover 25 and Rover 75 models. The company is also setting up a UK-based sales division and plans to establish assembly plants in Europe or South America by 2010. It is planning to build 400,000 engines a year by 2010 as well.

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