The Detroit News‘s David Shepardson has a way of being on hand with a microphone whenever GM CEO Dan Akerson lets loose with a memorable line, and today he has Akerson telling a Bloomberg News Forum that the green star of the American auto turnaround, the Chevy Volt, could be built in China within a few years. Said Akerson
We’re going to export into China for probably a year or two and see if it gets a take … if customers set the right usage patterns. If it does, we may manufacture it there.
As Bertel has noted, GM is outsourcing future EV development to its Chinese joint ventures, but this is the first time we’ve learned that the Volt could be made in the Middle Kingdom. In fact, just two weeks ago, GM said concerns voiced by Senator Stabenow (and echoed by Rep Slaughter in the video above) about Chinese technology demands, didn’t apply because it had no plans to build the Volt in China.
But why would GM hand Chinese firms the technological secrets to the car it insists is the future of transportation, when it could export it from the US and keep dreams of a US green car renaissance alive? Well, other than the fact that the Volt is about twice the price it needs to be to be a “gamechanger” and nobody will build it cheaper than China. Besides, we’re still waiting on evidence that China is actually going to take technology in exchange for EV market access. In other words, cheap labor and big subsidies mean it’s just a matter of time before the green icon of America’s Great Auto Bailout starts being built in China.