SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. Ltd. – a mini-vehicle sales and production joint venture between General Motors Corp., Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile – opens a second plant to increase its manufacturing capacity by 300,000 units annually.

“The new plant will enable SAIC-GM-Wuling to meet the rising domestic demand for its Wuling brand products,” says Kevin Wale, GM China Group president and managing director, in a statement. “This will increase SAIC-GM-Wuling’s competitiveness in the mini-commercial segment, which is one of the largest and fastest growing in China.”

The Qindao-based plant initially will produce a new mini-commercial vehicle powered by a 1.2L DOHC gasoline engine.

The 5-year-old JV delivered 552,788 vehicles last year to claim 43% of the mini-vehicle segment in China and a second consecutive year of segment leadership.

SAIC-GM-Wuling produces a range of Wuling-branded minitrucks and minivans, as well as the Chevrolet Spark minicar. It relies on GM’s global system and processes and can build multiple vehicles on the same assembly lines.

GM China owns a 34% stake in the JV, SAIC controls 50.1% and Wuling accounts for the remaining 15.9%.

The production increase comes on the heels of a number of minicar introductions in recent months, headlined by Tata Motors Ltd.’s long-awaited Nano “people’s car.” Unveiled at the New Delhi auto show in January, the Nano first will satisfy demand in India and later ship to other emerging markets, Tata says.