General Motors (NYSE:GM) and its China partners have announced plans to build a third factory in the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing. The facility will be owned and operated as a joint venture by GM China and its domestic partners SAIC and Wuling Motors.

Pending government approval, construction is set to begin early next year, and the $1 billion first phase is slated to open in 2015 and have an annual production capacity of 400,000 automobiles.

The factory will help SAIC-GM-Wuling achieve its target of producing 2 million vehicles annually in the country by the end of 2015. In addition to the Chongqing facilities, the trio has "manufacturing bases" in three other sites throughout China.

The GM consortium started building vehicles for the domestic market in 1999. In 2006, it became the nation's leading producer of mini-commercial automobiles, and three years later it was the first vehicle maker in China to sell 1 million autos in a calendar year. In 2011, it sold nearly 1.3 million vehicles in the country.

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