Updated from 1:03 a.m. ESTBEIJING ( TheStreet) -- General Motors and China's Shanghai Automotive Industries Corp. confirmed Friday they plan to make and sell vehicles in India as the U.S. automaker turned over control of a Chinese venture to SAIC. General Motors said it plans to surrender 1% of the the Shanghai General Motors joint venture to SAIC, giving SAIC 51% of the company. "By leveraging our individual assets and those of our China joint ventures, SAIC and GM are in a strong position to introduce competitive products outside China that will satisfy the needs of consumers in India and other high-potential global markets," said SAIC chairman Hu Maoyuan in a joint statement Friday. The news confirms reports that the two companies plan to bring some of SAIC's light commercial vehicles to India, including minivans and mini-trucks, a segment dominated by domestic market leader Tata Motors ( TTM). The Financial Times reported that GM and SAIC had been talking about working together in India for several months, but the Chinese automaker was reluctant to expand in international markets after Ssangyong, the South Korean automaker, in which SAIC had a majority investment, went into receivership. Analysts said GM's decision to surrender control of its main China operation and share access to India was a bad sign for the largest U.S. automaker, now 60% owned by the U.S. government after being propped up with billions in loans. "I can only imagine it's urgent need for money," said John Bonnell, director of automotive forecasting at JD Power & Associates in Bangkok. GM, like other global automakers, has said it wants to use India as a small car production base for export. "We have forecasts for GM to export to Europe. Now they're going to share that export production with a partner?" said Bonnell. GM's sales in India rose about 10% last year to 65,702 cars, but it's only fifth in terms of sales in the country. General Motors has invested more than $1 billion in India, where it sells six models under the Chevrolet brand.
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