So far, the feared Chinese car exports were nothing to write home about. Imports to China are outpacing exports from China by a wide margin. In units and especially in value. While China manages to sell a few cheap pickups to developing countries, it has become the #1 market for the (imported) Mercedes S Class. The German car industry in particular is running extra shifts to keep up with the Chinese appetite for German imports. One carmaker is determined to change that gross trade imbalance. Not Chery. Not Geely. It’s General Motors.
GM expects exports of its China-made Chevrolet Sail to more than quadruple next year, a senior executive told Bloomberg. The Sail exports are targeted at emerging markets that want low-cost quality vehicles.
Terry Johnsson, vice president for GM’s China operations told Reuters: “Next year, the growth will certainly be many times more than our 2010 number. At minimum, our business will be 10,000 units export for Sail. It could be 20,000 or even more.”
GM has just started exporting Sails in earnest. In the coming years, Made-in-China Chevys will be shipped to emerging markets in South America, Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Add to that the supposedly Made-for-China, but in reality made for export from China Bao Jun, a product made by GM’s joint venture with SAIC and Wuling, and you have a nice little export machine right there.
Other foreign carmakers don’t want to be left behind, and copy GM’s strategy . Who would have thought that the countries that were the most paranoid of Chinese import end up jump-starting Chinese exports?