'Treasured horse' set to hit Chinese auto showrooms

The Chinese car market is to get yet another new nameplate courtesy of General Motors.

Baojun (translation: "treasured horse") was unveiled July 19 by the Detroit giant as the brand name for a new lineup of inexpensive cars designed to compete with homegrown Chinese brands which retail vehicles for between $5,000 and $10,000 (€3,870 - €7,740).

A spokesperson described the brand's positioning as a "reliable partner with an image that is confident, smart and dependable."

Its first vehicle, reportedly a sedan, will initially be built and sold in China only.

The brand is a creation of GM and its Chinese partners SAIC and Wuling, who already hold some of the rapidly-growing market for low-cost vehicles in the country.

However, GM is keen to diversify its brands in the country in order to maintain appeal across a cross-section of society without compromising the prestige of the Chevrolet brand, its fastest-growing in the region.

It will be keen to replicate the success of the Wuling Sunshine, a low-cost minivan which has become one of China's most popular car models.

Ironically, GM has focused its North American efforts on shrinking its brand portfolio, killing off Saturn, Pontiac and Hummer this year, but GM's Kevin Wale said that the new brand "will enable us to better address the increasingly segmented Chinese vehicle market.”

It's estimated that there are over 100 different car brands in China, many of which are joint ventures between foreign names such as General Motors or Volkswagen and domestic automakers such as SAIC or FAW.