The History of BAIC: 2010 -2023

BAIC Group’s Rapid Growth: A History from 2010 - 2023

BAIC Group’s Rapid Growth: A History from 2010 – 2023

Of late, the BAIC Group (Beijing Automotive Group Co., Ltd.) is becoming well-known on a global scale for their vehicles which offer exceptional value by providing features and technology usually found in more expensive models. But this wasn’t always the case. With its roots firmly planted in Chinese soil, BAIC has gone through major changes and developments over the past decade that allowed for its international expansion.

In Part 1 of our BAIC History blog series, we looked at the BAIC Group’s milestones from 1958 until 2010. In the second part of the series we now take a look at the next phase from 2010 to the current day.

Advances In Technology

BAIC was founded in 1958 but its modern history can be traced back to 2010 when it acquired intellectual property rights from Saab, a pioneering Swedish automotive manufacturer with roots in aircraft and military-vehicle development. This gave BAIC access to technology and expertise in developing passenger vehicles.

In 2011, BAIC made a breakthrough in developing its own proprietary engine technology – a 2.3-litre turbocharged gasoline engine for use in its passenger vehicles. This represented the first-ever turbocharged gas engine BAIC has made under its brand, without partners. The significance of this event is that it marked an important milestone for BAIC in shedding its former reliance on licensing foreign designs. This also gave BAIC’s in-house brands like Senova, Wevan, and others a more competitive offering versus rivals.

In 2011 BAIC acquired 100% of Inalfa shares, which represented another strategic move for the company. Inalfa is a Netherlands-based automotive roof company specialising in manufacturing sunroofs, panoramic roofs and related parts. By purchasing 100% of Inalfa shares, BAIC brought the company’s expertise, gaining complete control over an important body element, as well as the underlying technologies.

Global Expansion

In 2013 BAIC ranked 336th in Fortune 500 and 18th among global automotive companies. Breaking into the prestigious Fortune Global 500 list, signalled the rapid ascent of the company on the global business stage.

The establishment of BAIC International Development Co., Ltd. in 2014 was an important strategic move for BAIC’s global expansion ambitions. This subsidiary, focused solely on international business and overseas operations, included activities like exports and localisation in foreign markets.

In 2014 BAIC Motor Co., Ltd. was listed on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited. This provided significant new capital via public markets to fund BAIC Motors’ growth plans and opened up BAIC Motor and its business operations to international investors.

BAIC then acquired part of the equity of New Zealand Pacific Aerospace Co., Ltd. and established Beijing Pan Pacific Aerospace Co., Ltd. as a joint venture in 2014. Entering the field of general aviation, fulfilled their strategic aims of technology development and brand awareness.

In 2015 BAIC ranked 248th in the Fortune Global 500, improving 88 places compared to the previous year, with BAIC’s total revenue at $4.332 billion!

Rapid Growth

From 2016 onwards marked a period of rapid expansion for BAIC regarding production capacity and model development.

BAIC and the South African Industrial Development Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding on the BAIC South Africa plant project with a total investment of five billion yuan and a planned production capacity of 100,000 units per year.

In 2017, BAIC Motor Co., Ltd. acquired 35% equity in Fujian Motor Industry Group Co. Ltd. This interest in an established brand with a 50-year history and expertise in light commercial vehicles brought experience, production capacity and an existing customer base. It also meant the expansion of BAIC’s footprint southwards geographically from its Beijing base into Southeast coastal China for better access and distribution logistics to major population centres there.

Specialisation In Electric Vehicles

In 2017, BAIC created the BJEV sub-brand specialising in electric vehicles, a strategic move to capitalise on the booming electric vehicle market, particularly in China.

In the same year, BJ40 won the first prize in the China Automotive Industry Science and Technology Award. With this, the BJ40’s engineering was recognised as an innovative advancement in China’s automotive tech and signified that BAIC’s BJEV division was considered a domestic leader in EV technology.

In 2018, BAIC and Magna International Inc. signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build a new generation of intelligent pure electric vehicles. Another big milestone in 2018 was the completion of the Beijing Hyundai Chongqing Plant.

Climbing The Ladder

In 2020 BAIC started the year with a bang, ranking among the world’s top 500 companies for the seventh time, ranked 129th. In the same year, the launch of the first production model of ARCFOX αT, a high-end intelligent new energy vehicle brand of BAIC, marked the official entry of BAIC into the high-end pure electric field.

The following year BAIC’s Magic Core 1.5T engine won the ‘China Heart’ Ten Best Engine of 2021. Winning a top national engines award underscored the automaker’s continued progress in powertrains.

In 2021, the 10,000,000th complete vehicle of BAIC Foton, the Ouman Galaxy, rolled off the line. BAIC Foton became the first commercial vehicle company in China to exceed 10 million units in production and sales and is also the vehicle company with the shortest time to break through 10 million units in the world.

Multiple Launches

In 2022, BEIJING X55 launched in South Africa and aimed to provide local consumers with smarter and more technologically advanced smart cars manufactured in China. The BEIJING Off-Road BJ60 was also officially launched in November 2022, opening up a new track of comfortable off-road vehicles.

The BAIC Group announced its blue plan in 2022, to promote comprehensive new energy and intelligent connectivity, create a full range of passenger vehicles and commercial vehicles that are green and low-carbon, and strive to reach a carbon peak in 2025 and achieve complete decarbonisation in all products and carbon neutral operation by 2050.

Beijing Benz’s fourth millionth complete vehicle, also a brand-new domestically produced battery electric vehicle EQE, rolled off the assembly line in a factory at Shunyi.

Reports suggest BAIC is targeting a production capacity of five million vehicles globally by 2025. If achieved, this could make BAIC one of the 10 largest auto groups in the world!

As we can see, in little over a decade, BAIC has transformed from a regional state-owned automaker to an emerging powerhouse with international ambitions. It will be exciting to watch where the company goes in the next 10 years!

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