The story that Chinese SAIC and Dongfeng are thinking (aloud) about buying GM or Chrysler, or maybe both, created a firestorm on both sides of the no longer so Pacific Ocean. Just in case someone still thinks it’s a fluke, the Chinese media is chockablock full of the story. It’s all in (duh) Chinese, but trust us: from mass-outlets like Sina.com all the way to the government-owned Autoinfo.gov.cn, their headlines shout (in Chinese: ) “SAIC and Dongfeng intend to buy GM.” As far as more substance to the story goes, there’s not much to report. We and our friends over at Gasgoo made some phone calls to the parties involved, and first received nothing but a “wu ke feng gao,” which the Mandarin-speakers amongst the B&B recognize as a “no comment.” Then, the denials poured in.
“GM will not sell its joint ventures,“ said Zhou Fangyu, former director of GM Business Development Department. An anonymous source at SAIC told Gasgoo.com reporters in a phone interview that he “hasn’t heard of SAIC’s plans to buy GM or Chrysler.” However, he also noted that “it may be possible for SAIC to buy some suppliers or joint ventures of GM in China.” A definite maybe. And then …
A senior executive from a global bank confirmed the rumor. “Whether it is true we should wait and see,” he said. Bottom line: Welcome to the land of ambiguity.
Meanwhile, stateside, from Digg through Reddit, the possible takeover of the General by the Red Army has become linkfodder du jour, overdriving our viewcounter to… but see yourself. Some alleged “grassroots” sites, such as GM-Volt (which may have been smoking too much of Wagoner’s grassroots anyway, but that’s beside the point) are using the story to rally the pro-bailout troops: “Will our Volts be made in China? It may be up to our government to decide.” Call it ignorance or intent, but it appears as if only our friends at Autoblog are bucking the trend. Their latest headline in the China Dept.: “Volvo unveils long-wheelbase S80L for Chinese market.”