As Johnson Controls rolled the 100 millionth lead-acid automotive battery off its production line at Burgos, Spain, last month, the American behemoth’s China arm was signing an MOU with an auto parts subsidiary of Beijing Automotive Industry Group (BAIC) to expand the market in China.
The partnership, between Johnson and Beijing Hainachuan Automotive Parts (BHAP), will set up a sales and manufacturing joint venture in the world’s largest vehicle market.
The JV will make batteries for conventional vehicles and stop-start systems that use AGM and EFBs as China gradually toughens up its fuel efficiency and emission regulations.
BAIC and Johnson Controls have established ‘good cooperation’ in the past said Xuejun Li, general manager of BHAP, adding the partnership would explore the potential in the Chinese Stop-Start automotive industry.
BAIC also has automotive manufacturing joint ventures with Hyundai, Mercedes Benz, and a number of self-owned brands like BAIC Motor, Senova, Changhe Auto and Foton.
Around 22 million new vehicles are produced in China every year. Last month, Johnson Controls agreed to build a new battery manufacturing facility in Shenyang, which is expected to open in 2018. It also has battery plants in Chongqing and Changxing, and an energy storage research centre in Shanghai.
The Spanish plant has increased production and storage capacity by 60% since 2007. It makes VARTA stop-start batteries with EFB technology and conventional starter batteries.