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GM Sets New Sales Record – Again – in China

Another month, another record?

by on May.08, 2012

The Buick Envision concept car at last month's Beijing Motor Show.

Another month another record seems to have become the prevailing pattern for General Motors in China. The U.S. giant and its various Chinese joint ventures set a domestic sales record for April of 227,217 vehicles.

Demand was up 11.7% from the same month in 2011, GM reported as it continues to defy the slowdown in China’s vehicle market due to the strength of the Wuling brand, which is marketed to customers in China’s vast interior.

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GM has also been gaining traction with the all-new Baojun brand.  Launched late last year, it’s a joint effort of the U.S. maker and partners SAIC and Wuling.  Baojun is specifically targeting the next generation of first-time buyers as China’s economic boom spreads from the Pacific Coast to the country’s interior and western provinces.


GM Launching Volt in China

Meanwhile, GM production set to resume in Spring Hill.

by on Nov.23, 2011

The Chevrolet Volt was first shown in China at Shanghai's Expo 2010.

General Motors Co. has set up distribution of the American-made Chevrolet Volt in China – the plug-in hybrid set to go on sale at 13 Shanghai GM Chevrolet dealerships in eight Chinese cities, including the Chinese capitol, Beijing, as well as Shanghai itself, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Foshan.

The Chevy Volt will be one of the rare U.S. exports to the booming Asian nation – now the world’s largest automotive market.  Most cars sold in China are produced in-country, with the market dominated by joint ventures pairing local and foreign makers such as the alliance between GM and Shanghai-based SAIC.

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The Chinese will see a sticker price of $75,533, or 498,000 RMB, for what GM prefers to call an extended-range electric vehicle. The Volt is designed to deliver more than 40 miles per charge of its lithium-ion battery pack.  It then can continue driving by firing up a small gasoline engine.

GM made the announcement of the distribution of the Volt in China as part of the company’s  participation in Auto Guangzhou 2011. Two of GM’s joint ventures, Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, are displaying more than 30 vehicles from the Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and the new Baojun brands.


GM Exec Says Chinese Venture Will Focus on New Battery Car

China will not get access to Chevy Volt technology, insists senior executive.

by on Sep.20, 2011

GM will not provide the Chinese with the technology secrets of the Chevy Volt, a senior official insists.

General Motors’ new joint venture with its Chinese partner SAIC will focus on the development of an all-new battery-electric vehicle, a senior GM official says.

The U.S. automaker will not provide the Chinese with intellectual property for what many see as its crown jewel, the extended-range electric vehicle Chevrolet Volt, insisted Vice Chairman Steve Girsky.  But, during a media conference call hosted from Shanghai, the former Wall Street analyst acknowledged that GM will be sharing significant intellectual property with its Chinese partner.

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The deal, signed today by GM officials and their counterparts at the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp., is the latest in a series of partnerships between the two manufacturers.  It will take aim at what some believe could become the fastest-growing segment in the booming Chinese automotive market.


GM to Share Proprietary EV Tech with Chinese

Move raises numerous concerns.

by on Sep.20, 2011

GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson with his SAIC counterpart Hu Maoyuan during today's signing ceremony in Shanghai.

Under pressure from the Beijing government,t General Motors has agreed to provide access to its proprietary electric vehicle technology to its lead Chinese partner.

The move is raising numerous concerns, critics contending that China is, for one thing, using unfair pressure to gain access to technologies that will later be used by its own domestic manufacturers to compete with foreign brands like GM.

But the U.S. automotive giant contends the move will help it maintain a lead in the rapid electrification of the industry – especially since China, now the world’s largest automotive market, is making a rapid push into battery power to curb its dependence on foreign oil and reduce its endemic pollution problems.

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“We can accomplish far more by working together than we can by working separately,” said Tim Lee, president of GM International Operations, during a signing ceremony with the maker’s lead Chinese partner, the government-owned Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp., or SAIC.


GM Will Increase Investments in China

“Key to our success,” proclaims CEO Akerson.

by on Feb.17, 2011

GM's SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture has begun sales of the Wuling Hong Guang, the first compact business van ever offered in China.

If you didn’t know it, China is awfully important to General Motors.

GM chairman and chief executive officer Daniel Akerson traveled to the booming Asian nation, this week, and emphasized that China remains critical to GM’s future – and will continue to see more and more investments dollars.

“As our largest market, China played a significant role in GM’s success in 2010. We will continue investing aggressively in China to ensure the long-term success of our company.” Akerson said.

GM’s strength in China was instrumental last year in moving the company into a position where it came within 30,000 units of overtaking arch-rival Toyota, the world’s largest automaker.  GM also became the first automaker to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China during a single year, in 2010.


GM Scores Sales Record in China

And it’s not alone.

by on Jan.05, 2011

The Chevy Volt on display at Shanghai's Expo 2010.

It was a good year for the U.S. auto industry – more or less.  After a late-in-the-year burst of activity, sales topped 11 million for 2010, but that’s still a far cry from the 17 million numbers posted a decade ago.

It also meant that China would again retain the title as the world’s largest automotive market.  And with sales in the Asian nation still growing at a double-digit rate, it’s hard to find a single maker that didn’t set another record, from Ferrari to Ford to General Motors.

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GM has now cemented its lead, boosting sales for the year by 29%, to 2.35 million.  In October, GM became the first maker to ever sell more than 2 million cars in a single year in China.

But there’s a downside to that news.  The General actually saw its momentum slip for the year, after scoring a whopping 67% increase in sales in 2009.  Kevin Wale, president of GM’s Chinese subsidiary, expects to still see growth in 2011, but at a more tepid 11% pace.


GM’s Newest 4-Door To Debut At $7,000

But you’ll need to live in China to buy the Baojun 630.

by on Nov.23, 2010

The Baojun 630 targets the next wave of new Chinese car buyers, in the country's third-tier cities.

General Motors and its affiliate SAIC have pulled the wraps off their newest model.  The 630 sedan will go on sale, early next year, as part of the two partners’ new venture, the Baojun brand.

At $7,000, the 630 model is being aimed at the next wave of new Chinese car buyers.  Until now, the country’s impressive automotive revolution has been largely concentrated in Pacific Rim cities like Shanghai and Beijing.  But the central government is hoping to spread its economic miracle inland and automakers like GM and SAIC are only too happy to oblige.

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Under Chinese law, foreign makers must find domestic partners.  The two allies are already active in a variety of joint ventures, including GM’s first Chinese factory, in Shanghai, which produces a variety of Buick models.  SAIC also shares ownership of the Wuling brand, which produces a variety of low-cost microvans.  Wuling, in turn, holds a stake in Baojun.


Saudi Prince Now 2nd-Largest GM Investor

Arabic investors targeting auto industry opportunities.

by on Nov.23, 2010

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed now holds a 1% stake in GM, making him its 2nd-largest shareholder.

Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is now one of the largest shareholders in General Motors.

The royal billionaire, one of the world’s wealthiest men, announced through a spokesman that he has invested $500 million in the U.S. automaker which, last week, staged a long-awaited initial public offering.  The IPO proved far more successful than initially anticipated, in part due to the interest  — and cash – of foreign investors.

According to a statement out of the oil-rich kingdom, Alwaleed’s investment arm, Kingdom Holding Co., acquired about 1% of GM stock.  The maker sold 358 million shares of common stock as part of its return to public trading, along with another 80 million convertible preferred shares.  The common shares were priced at $33 apiece, though KHC declined to provide the details of its purchase.

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The investment firm did note that it was placing its financial bet based on “the global strength of General Motors brand, the relatively attractive offering price, and the company’s growth prospects in Brazil and China.”


GM China Sales Top 2 Million For First Time

First maker to cross key milestone in a single year.

by on Nov.04, 2010

GM China President Kevin Wales.

General Motors set a significant milestone, last month, becoming the first automaker to ever sell more than 2 million cars in China during a single year, and giving the brand a nudge forward in its hard-fought battle to dominate the growing Asian market.

While car sales have “slowed” in China, in recent months, the numbers are still increasing at a double-digit pace and GM, in particular, recorded a 19.6% bump.  Falling just short of 200,000 vehicles, the month was an all-time record for the maker in what is now the single-largest national car market in the world.

“Over the past decade, China’s vehicle market has experienced unprecedented growth. GM has grown with it, working with our joint ventures to expand our lineup of vehicles and brands, adding to our portfolio of services, and increasing our production capacity to meet the changing needs of consumers nationwide,” proclaimed Kevin Wale, president of the GM China Group.

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The latest numbers come as a reminder of the maker’s controversial decision to enter the then-nascent Chinese market, 13 years ago.  Back then, few believed GM would be able to recover its initial investment in a new assembly plant to be built in the new, Pudon section of Shanghai.

As with other foreign makers hoping to tap China’s potential, GM was required to – and still must – partner with a domestic maker.  The original deal paired it with Shanghai-based SAIC, and their SGM unit saw a nearly 45% increase in sales last month.


GM And Chinese Partner SAIC Will Significantly Expand Alliance

Is the deal a payback for SAIC’s investment in GM IPO?

by on Nov.03, 2010

GM and SAIC will expand cooperation on future products. They've already developed a number together, including the Buick Riviera Concept.

General Motors and its Chinese partner, SAIC Motor Corp., have announced a potentially significant expansion of their decade-old partnership, one that could reach well beyond the fast-growing Asian nation.

The non-binding agreement calls for the makers, among other things, to cooperate on the development of “new energy vehicles,” such as the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.  It also expands their joint effort to penetrate other emerging markets, such as India.

“Strategically, this is about GM getting a leg up in China without having to pay for it all on its own,” said Jim Hal, chief analyst with Detroit-based 2953 Analytics.  The deal is also about expanding access to India, “which may mimic the huge growth we’ve seen in China in recent years.

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But several observers, including sources within GM, tell that the new venture may also be a quid-pro-quo for a possible investment by SAIC in the upcoming General Motors IPO.  The maker, according to recent reports, will stage its long-awaited stock offering on November 18th, with shares to be offered at somewhere between $26 and $29. (Click Here for the full story.)

“The Chinese desperately want access to the technology we’ve been using in the Volt,” said a ranking executive involved in the U.S. maker’s electrification efforts.  “But so far, anyway, we’ve been reluctant to share it with them,” he added, requesting anonymity because of his sensitive management position.

Whether SAIC actually will invest in GM could be a potentially hot potato for a company that survived last year’s bankruptcy only with a $50 billion federal bailout, and which has become known to critics as “Government Motors.”  In light of this week’s elections, such a move by SAIC could be even more politically charged.