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The fast growing Indonesian car market has caught the interest of General Motors and its Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp. Both parties are in talks to form a joint venture to sell vehicles in the ASEAN country, a senior GM executive confirmed.

“We have to figure out how to strengthen our position in Indonesia. As one option, we are looking at doing something with SAIC,” said Bob Socia, president of GM China, at the Detroit motor show. “Indonesia is a huge opportunity. They have 240 million people, and very low penetration of vehicles.”

He added the Indonesia’s growing economy makes it a promising market for low-priced cars and vans. In China, GM has a JV with SAIC – SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co – that produces commercial small vans and entry-level sedans. Besides China, Wuling sells its cars in India and South America.

GM already has a presence in Toyota-dominated Indonesia (36% market share), although it’s not very big there. Last June, GM announced plans to reopen its assembly plant in Bekasi, West Java, to produce the seven-seat Chevrolet Spin MPV this year. The plant will initially produce up to 40,000 units per annum.

Separately, SAIC, which is also the owner of the MG and Roewe brands, will set up a 50,000-unit capacity assembly plant in Thailand. The Shanghai-based company will partner the Charoen Pokphand Group in this venture, which will build cars for sale in the ASEAN region. This deal doesn’t involve GM.