Chinese carmaker Haima Automobile, a manufacturing partner of Xiaomi-backed electric vehicle (EV) startup Xpeng Motors, plans to enter the Indian market amid sluggish industry sales at home.

Why it matters: Haima’s move comes after China’s biggest automaker SAIC launched in the Indian market, racking up 27,000 orders for its MG Hector SUV model in just 45 days.

  • Other firms are following suit. BMW manufacturing partner Great Wall Motor and Chongqing-based Changan Automobile are also reportedly considering building cars in the country, reported Reuters.

Details: Hainan-based Haima Automobile said late last month that it is in the process of making its EVs available in India.

  • A company spokesperson confirmed talks with Indian governments and local suppliers as part of the plan. Haima has teamed with Bird Electric, part of authorized BMW dealer Bird Group.
  • Originally formed as a joint venture between Mazda and Hainan provincial government in 1992, Haima stopped manufacturing for the Japanese maker in 2006.
  • The company later sold vehicles resembling the popular Mazda 2 and Mazda 3 for years after, achieving record sales of 220,000 units in 2016.
  • Sales have declined for the past four years with only 25,610 units sold in the first 11 months of 2019. It forged alliances with EV startup Xpeng Motors to help it build cars, with the establishment of a RMB 2 billion ($287 million) plant in Zhengzhou, provincial capital of central Henan Province, in 2017.

Context: Chinese auto sales have slumped since mid-2018, falling 3.6% year on year to 2.5 million units in November.

  • The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers estimates an overall annual fall of 8% to 25.8 million units in 2019, with no turnaround in sight until 2022.

China NEV sales decline extends in November

Jill Shen is Shanghai-based technology reporter. She covers Chinese mobility, autonomous vehicles, and electric vehicles. Connect with her via e-mail: jill.shen@technode.com More by Jill Shen

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