Initially, the plan for the HK JV was for the two sides to work together in India and possibly elsewhere in the future. (For further insight into this particular deal, please see Chapter 4 of Designated Drivers.) As for the India venture, GM would contribute two existing factories in India, along with its Chevrolet brand, and SAIC would contribute cash -- something that GM had been seriously lacking as it had emerged from bankruptcy earlier that same year.
Thanks to a clever analyst who has combed through GM's SEC filings, it has now emerged that SAIC appears to have backed out of the India joint venture, and GM has stepped in to buy out SAIC's portion for $125 million -- ironic since GM was previously so desperate that it was willing to hand over control of SAIC-GM to SAIC for a mere $85 million. The India joint venture has now gone from an equal 50:50 partnership to a 93:7 partnership in favor of GM.
One can only speculate as to why SAIC has decided to pass up an opportunity to participate in the burgeoning demand for small cars in India. Until now, the two partners, SAIC and GM, have been considered to be among the "most harmonious" Sino-foreign joint ventures.
Now that GM has regained its profitability in North America, has GM perhaps decided it no longer needs SAIC's cash to expand to other markets? Has SAIC decided it would also prefer to go it alone?