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Buick Envisions Huge Success in US with Chinese Crossover

GM brings first China-made vehicle to U.S. shores.

by on Jan.11, 2016

The new Buick Envision is coming to the U.S. after having explosive success in the Chinese market.

The Envision will fit neatly into the Buick line-up in the United States, General Motors executives said as they unveiled the first vehicle built by GM’s extensive operations in China for sale to American consumers during a sneak preview ahead of the official press days for the North American International Auto Show.

Duncan Aldred, Buick vice president, noted the Buick brand has set sales records in each of the last three years and the introduction of the Envision will help insure that the momentum continues in the coming months. Demand from dealers is already very strong, he said.

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For one thing, the Envision is a truly international vehicle that GM expects to complement the Enclave and the Encore, the other two crossovers in the Buick portfolio that account for roughly 60% of the brand’s sales in the U.S. (more…)

Big Interest in Autonomous Vehicles in Asia

Improving transportation networks driving appeal.

by on Nov.04, 2014

Research shows that Asia is a hotbed for interest in autonomous vehicles to help with improve the efficiency of transportation.

Despite safety concerns about the potential for equipment failure, drivers in the developing automotive markets of Asia have high expectations for autonomous vehicles.

“Recent advances in autonomous vehicle technology have helped bring self-driving vehicles to the forefront of public interest,” said Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

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“Self-driving vehicles are commonly envisioned to be the ultimate, full embodiment of connected-vehicle technology, an area that is currently the focus of several large research projects and government support,” he said. (more…)

Volvo Likely to Begin Importing from China in 2015

Maker will focus on stretched version of new S60 model.

by on Aug.26, 2014

The Volvo S60L sedan, which is assembled at the new Volvo plant in Chengdu, could be the first vehicle exported from China to the U.S.

Despite years of promises, Chinese automakers like Chery Automotive and BYD have yet to follow through by importing their products to the United States. But the long drought is expected to come to an end next year, and the first automaker to ship a Chinese-made vehicle to the U.S. now appears likely to be Volvo Cars.

Purchased by China’s Zhejiang Geely Holdings in 2010, Volvo is now operating two factories in the fast-growing Asian country, with most of the capacity earmarked for local buyers. But the Swedish brand’s chief executive officer says it is preparing to export at least one of those products next year.

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“A very likely candidate” is the long-wheelbase version of Volvo’s S60 sedan, the maker’s CEO and President Hakan Samuelsson said in response to a question from, adding that a target date “sometime in 2015” is “absolutely likely.” (more…)

New Boss for GM China

Tsien to be first Asian exec to oversee booming Chinese operations.

by on Dec.02, 2013

Matt Tsien becomes the first Asian chief of GM's huge Chinese operations.

Locked in a battle for domination in what has become the world’s largest automotive market, General Motors is shaking up its top Chinese management team.

Significantly, Matthew Tsien becomes the first executive of Asian heritage to run GM’s rapidly expanding empire in China – which generated more sales last year than the maker’s core U.S. operations.

A 37-year GM veteran, Tsien has clocked a wide range of assignments in markets as diverse as Germany and Australia, but he has also put in a significant amount of time in China where he has most recently been serving as vice president of Planning and Program Management for GM China and GM Consolidated International Operations and Strategic Alliances for China.

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In his new role, Tsien will succeed Bob Socia, who has announced he will retire on January 1.  Tsien will become a member of the GM Executive Operations Committee, reporting to General Motors Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson, which underscores the importance GM puts on the China market.


Automakers Use China’s Desire for Western Brands to Grow Sales

New book outlines country’s development and relationship with auto industry.

by on Oct.25, 2013

China is the world's largest automotive market and an economic force due to the auto industry.

The Volkswagen Group began construction on its 16th plant in China, while a strong showing in China during the third quarter also bolstered Ford and Daimler AG earnings and outlook for the future in the eyes of many financial analysts.

“This new, state-of-the-art factory is further proof of the Volkswagen Group’s comprehensive commitment in China,” said VW Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn, who noted the new plant will be able to build more than 300,000 vehicles annually. “Here in Ningbo and together with our partners, our pioneering spirit is once again driving economic and technical progress in the Chinese automotive industry.

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“We are working hard to offer our customers in China the best vehicles and most efficient technologies – engineered and made in China. For our Group brands, the Ningbo plant also gives new momentum to tapping the full potential of the huge market south and west of Shanghai.” (more…)

Ford Bucking Trend – Upping Exports to China

Lincoln models, Ford crossovers, in increasing demand.

by on Oct.15, 2013

The Lincoln MKZ will be China-bound when the brand launches in the booming Asian market next year.

When Ford launches its new Lincoln dealer network in China next year, the maker plans to begin stocking those showrooms by importing vehicles from the United States, rather than building them locally.

While it will add significant duties to the price of models like the Lincoln MKZ it will give Ford a bit more flexibility – and save it the hefty capital investment that would otherwise be required to tool up a line in China, company officials tell

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But it’s not just Lincoln products. In fact, the Detroit maker is increasing the number of vehicles it ships to China even as other manufacturers – such as General Motors’ Cadillac brand – continue to reduce that flow of exports while continuing to increase local Chinese production.


Ford Racing to Catch Up in China and Other Asian Markets

Detroit’s second-largest maker wants to be one of Asia’s Big Three.

by on Oct.09, 2013

David Schoch, (r), president of Ford's Asia/Pacific operations, with CEO Alan Mulally and Joginder Singh, head of Ford India, during a news conference announcing export plans from Ford India.

Ford Motor Co. is racing to make up for lost time after getting off to a late start in the booming Chinese market. And with demand surging 51% since the beginning of the year, the Detroit maker is rapidly expanding both its product line-up and production capacity in a bid to catch up with key competitors like General Motors and Volkswagen AG.

Ford still has a long way to go.  While it was an early participant in other markets in the Asia/Pacific region, it initially steered clear of China – which is expected to see sales of 17 million vehicles this year and as many as 32 million by 2020, according to consensus forecasts. As a result, it lags way behind market leaders in terms of both sales and capacity.

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But the president of the Asia/Pacific region, Ford veteran David Schoch notes that the maker is clearly heading in the right direction. It turned a 2012 loss into a $183 million profit for the first half of this year, and says Schoch, “by mid-decade I do expected Asia/Pacific to be a major contributor to Ford’s (total) profits.”


GM, Ford Set China Sales Records

Makers run hot despite cool-down in Chinese economy.

by on Aug.06, 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally plants a kiss on the 7 millionth Transit van during a recent visit to China.

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. both reported record sales in China last month, continuing to brush aside concerns about the economy of the Asian nation which has shown signs of cooling down in recent months.

GM, in particular, has been gaining ground in China in recent months, closing the gap with long-time rival and traditional market leader Volkswagen AG. Ford, though showing strong, double-digit gains, is still playing a game of catch-up after long delaying its entry into what is now the world’s largest automotive market.

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Sales by GM’s various joint ventures in China, increased 11.1% in July to 221,580 vehicles, which shattered the sales record set in July 2013. So far this year, China has become the company’s most important market, sales increasing by more than 10%. Last year, GM sold more than 2.8 million vehicles in China.

To underscore the growing importance of the Chinese market, GM this month announced that it would move Tim Lee, its head of International Operations, to a new post as chairman of GM China.


World’s Largest Auto Market to Restrict Car Purchases

China placing limits on buyers to address pollution, traffic problems.

by on Jul.11, 2013

Traffic congestion has become a major challenge in China, as has air pollution.

Struggling to cope with worsening smog problems even as the roadways in places like Shanghai and Beijing become choked with traffic, Chinese regulators plan to enact new restrictions limiting the number of vehicles that can be sold in a many key cities around the country.

Such limits are already in place in four major cities, and another eight will be added to the list, according to reports published today by China’s well-connected state media.  It’s not clear if the expanded list will make exceptions for those buying lower-polluting battery-cars, as has been the case in the past.

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China is now the world’s largest automotive market but the rapid growth – which neared triple digits during parts of the past decade and was running at over 9% on an annualized basis during the first half of 2013 – has had its cost.


China Now GM’s Biggest Market

GM and Ford both set new records in Asian market.

by on Jul.08, 2013

GM unveiled its Buick Riviera Concept during the recent Shanghai Auto Show.

Despite signs of a slowdown in the Chinese economy General Motors posted record sales in China — where GM sales now have surpassed the total number of vehicles the company is selling in its home market, the United States.

GM and its Chinese joint venture partners saw sales surge by 10.6% during the first half of 2013, to nearly 1.6 million, an all-time record that positions it as the booming Asian nation’s second-largest automotive manufacturer. By comparison, it sold just over 1.4 million vehicles in the U.S. during the same time period.

GM isn’t the only American maker outpacing the growth of the overall Chinese market.  Rival Ford Motor Co. set its own record for the first half of the year, sales in China surging 47%, with demand up 44% in June.

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While several makers have yet to report their final numbers, it appears the two American makers significantly outperformed the overall Chinese market, passenger car sales for the first half expected to be up 14%, with June growth a more modest 10% year-over-year, according to domestic industry sources.