Panasonic is expanding its presence in China through an alliance with Beijing Automotive Group to manufacture electric car parts and components in that country.
According to Kyodo News, Panasonic is teaming up with the Chinese company to manufacture parts and components, which is expected to include HVAC systems for electrified vehicles. The deal was reportedly made in May, and will see the two corporations set up a factory in Tianjin, a major city in northeast China.
Panasonic is manufacturing lithium batteries at the “gigafactory” plant in Nevada, but that production will be shared with Tesla Motors. Panasonic has been looking for more opportunities to grow its market presence in battery production and electric car parts and components.
In February 2016, Panasonic established a battery venture in China with Dalian Levear Electric Company. The partnership is a 50/50 joint venture; the official name will be Panasonic Automotive Energy Dalian Co., and it will be based in Dalian. Lithium-ion battery production will start in 2017 for overseas exports and to supply China’s own auto industry.
Beijing Automotive is expected to take a stake of about 54 percent in the new company, with the remaining roughly 46 percent to be contributed by Panasonic’s unit overseeing Chinese operations, according to officials and reported by Kyodo News.
Beijing Automotive is a long-established major player in China’s auto market. Brands include BAIC, Beiqi, Changhe, Foton, Huanso, and Weiwang; the company has manufacturing alliances with foreign partners Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz, and Suzuki, according to China Auto Web. One of its popular electric cars in China has been the BAIC EV200, as seen in the photo above.