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GM Plan to Import Chinese-Made Buick Envision Could Create Problems

UAW calls move “tone-deaf” as it prepares strike vote.

by on Aug.18, 2015

Buick would like to fill a hole in its SUV line-up with the Chinese-made Envision.

The UAW wants to head off plans by General Motors to begin importing a new crossover-utility vehicle from China.

While the Detroit automaker has not made a formal announcement, it is widely expected to begin importing a version of the Buick Envision it produces at a plant near Beijing. It could fill an open niche in the expanding Buick crossover line-up, a spokesman confirmed, though GM might alternatively move to produce the Envision at a U.S. plant.

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The possibility of importing its first Chinese-made product to the U.S. isn’t sitting well with the United Auto Workers Union, which said such a move would be “tone-deaf.” The union is currently negotiating a new four-year contract with GM and is asking its workers to authorize a strike should talks fail to reach a settlement by the September 14th deadline.

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GM Beats Q2 Forecast with Nearly $1.2 Bil Net Income

EBIT-adjusted earnings are best for any quarter since 2009 bankruptcy.

by on Jul.23, 2015

General Motors CEO Mary Barra remains upbeat about the coming months despite problems in China.

Despite being hit with a $1.1 billion special charge, General Motors managed to deliver a second-quarter profit of nearly $1.2 billion, or $0.67 a share – its biggest three-month profit since emerging from bankruptcy in July 2009 – with strong demand for its North American trucks helping fuel the strong performance.

Factoring in one-time charges equal to $0.62 a share, GM handily outperformed the Wall Street consensus forecast of $1.08 per share. And the second-quarter numbers compared with the modest $190 million, or $0.11, GM reported for the April-June 2014 numbers.

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“The first two quarters of the year were strong as we fully capitalized on a robust North American industry and maintained our strength in China, despite the challenging conditions in that market,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement. “We said our goal was to improve our earnings and margins this year, and we are on plan.

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China’s Car Market Hits a Speed Bump

Plunging stocks sap consumer spending.

by on Jul.09, 2015

A Chevy Cruze in China.

When trade industry officials forecast that the Chinese automotive market would grow by about 7% to 8% this year much of the rest of the industry turned green with envy. But for China, that was a severe retrenchment after years of double-digit growth.

Now, it seems, even that forecast may have been too optimistic, however. Car sales began to slow down earlier this year, along with the rest of the country’s economy. But demand in recent weeks has taken a sharp plunge as the Chinese stock market shows signs of a full-fledged meltdown.

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Though it remains the world’s largest new vehicle market, year-over-year sales fell 3.2% in June, according to the China Passenger Car Association, to a total of 1.43 million. That marked the country’s first down month since February 2013.

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Sluggish Market Impacts GM China Sales

Buick slides 8.5 Percent in April.

by on May.07, 2015

Despite a strong month by the Buick Excelle, the brand's sales in China were down 8.5% in April.

After long stretch of year-over-year sales increases that continued even as the Chinese economy began to show signs of slowing down, General Motors and its joint ventures in China reported a 0.4% drop in sales during April.

Domestic sales by SAIC-GM-Wuling were up 10.2% year on year to 139,041 units. But sales by Shanghai GM, GM’s other major venture, dropped 6.7% to 119,032 units.

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GM offered no comment on the sales decline last month, which came amid signs that the rapid growth of the global auto industry is beginning to slow as China grapples with complex economic and environmental challenges. In addition, starting with April’s results, GM is reporting retail deliveries rather than wholesales in China. (more…)

GM and Partners Investing $16 Billion on New Products for China

Focus on energy-efficient models.

by on Apr.20, 2015

Shanghai GM will invest $16 billion over the next five years to develop 10 all-new or upgraded models.

Struggling to remain on top in the increasingly competitive Chinese automotive market General Motors and its partners plan to invest $16 billion over the next five years to develop 10 all-new or upgraded models.

The focus will be on so-called “new-energy models,” including both conventional and plug-in hybrids the maker announced during a meeting with reporters at the Shanghai Motor Show on Monday. Chinese regulators have been pressing the industry to reduce fuel consumption and migrate to battery-based drivetrains in an increasingly desperate effort to reduce the country’s worsening air pollution problems.

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“In terms of new energy, we are keen on power efficiency and emission control and are ardent to go electrical throughout our portfolio,” said Shanghai GM President Wang Yongqing. (more…)

GM Shuts Down Spin Production in Indonesia

Poor sales, low profits spell end for 500 jobs at plant.

by on Feb.26, 2015

GM will stop building the Chevrolet Spin in Indonesia this summer and close the plant just outside of Jakarta eliminating 500 jobs.

Weeks after announcing a new partnership with its Chinese partner, SAIC Motor Corp., to build small SUVs in Indonesia, General Motors is shuttering its car-making operations in the world’s fourth-most populous country.

The move means the loss of 500 jobs in the country as GM recalibrates its efforts to be successful in Asia. Right now, it means a move toward making more sport-utility vehicles and getting out of building cars on it’s own. The automaker was getting beaten up by Japanese makers.

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“GM Indonesia is undergoing a market-driven transformation,” said Stefan Jacoby, GM executive vice president and president, GM International, in a release. “This transformation will strengthen the business and dealer network by focusing on building the Chevrolet brand and delivering a competitive, high-quality portfolio to meet the needs of customers in Indonesia.” (more…)

Ford Enjoys Record January Sales in China

GM sees drop as economic growth slows.

by on Feb.09, 2015

GM's sales in China fell in January as production couldn't keep up with demand.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times … or, when describing General Motors’ sales results in China last month, it was a subpar time.

Sales by GM and its joint venture partners in China dropped 2.4% during January as GM felt the impact of the slowing of the Chinese economy for the first time after years of steady growth.

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Conversely, it was the best of times for Ford, as the maker reported record sales growth in China as it continued to benefit from its recent expansion in the Chinese market with sales increasing 19% from a year ago. (more…)

Toyota Could Lose Sales Lead to VW This Year

Japanese giant plagued by problems in China.

by on Jan.26, 2015

A Toyota dealership in China was burned in 2012. Weak demand there could let VW pass the Japanese giant.

Toyota’s worldwide sales surged 3% last year, once again positioning the Japanese giant as the world’s top-selling automotive manufacturer. But with Toyota officials glumly anticipating a modest decline in 2015, the Japanese maker could cede leadership to its ambitious German rival Volkswagen AG.

Assign credit – or blame, if you prefer – to China. VW continues to dominate the world’s largest automotive market even while Toyota struggles to gain traction there. Japanese makers, in general, have had serious problems making headway in China, especially after tempers flared due a dispute between the two Asian nations over ownership of a chain of strategically placed islands.

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At one point, rioters burned a Toyota dealership and damaged 100s of Japanese vehicles. Sales have only slowly begun to recover, but Toyota’s sales in China are still barely a third of those of the market’s top two manufacturers, Volkswagen and General Motors.

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New Sales Record Can’t Push GM Past VW in China

GM finishes second for second consecutive year while Toyota is third.

by on Jan.06, 2015

Despite a record-setting performance in 2014, GM finished second to Volkswagen in China again.

With archrival Toyota beginning to retrench in the world’s largest market, General Motors and its joint ventures sold a record 3,539,970 vehicles in China in 2014, an average of one vehicle every nine seconds and almost 9,700 vehicles each day.

GM’s sales were up 12% from the previous high of 3,160,377 vehicles sold in 2013, but it wasn’t enough to pass market leader Volkswagen, which in 2013 emerged as the leading seller of new vehicles in China. Even Toyota’s sales were up 12.5%, but the company still finished a distant third behind VW and GM in 2014.

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VW sales rose 18% to more than 1.8 million vehicles, the company said today. That compares with GM’s 1.73 million units, an 11% increase. In 2013, the German automaker outsold GM in China for the first time in nine years. (more…)

GM Earnings Beat Expectations

Recall crisis shows little impact.

by on Oct.23, 2014

GM CEO Mary Barra is offering a positive assessment of the maker's third-quarter earnings.

Battered by recalls and facing challenges in markets as diverse as China, Russia and South America, General Motors nonetheless managed to beat expectations with its third-quarter earnings report, though revenues fell short.

The maker delivered net income of $1.4 billion, or 81 cents a share after factoring in one-time special items that had a $300 million, or 16-cent per share, impact on the bottom line. Factoring in those one-time costs, GM would have earned 97 cents a share, up slightly from 96 cents a year earlier – and two cents above the consensus estimate of industry analysts, according to Thomson Reuters.

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“Strong global sales and growing margins in North America and China helped GM deliver very solid third quarter results,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a prepared statement accompanying the July to September earnings results. “Despite industry challenges in Russia and South America, our earnings were on plan as we continue to execute our customer-focused strategy.”

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