News of GM potentially exporting cars from China to the United States in the near future has some wondering if the General will be the first OEM to sell Chinese made cars in the United States. One can have a diverse array of opinions on the political, social and economic impact of such a move, but from a product standpoint, it may not be such a bad thing.
Talk of GM exports comes from this Autoblog article, where GM China President Bob Socia was asked about new plants providing exports to America.
“It could very well happen. It could very well happen. You know, I’m not sharing any plans with you, but we try to keep open as to what makes sense. And Tim [Lee – GM’s president of international operations] is the right guy to talk about your manufacturing footprint. If it make sense to tool up a vehicle in one location as opposed to two, from an economic perspective, Tim will say that’s what we should be doing. We’re open to be doing that. There’s no reason why we can’t be exporting to the States, and obviously the States are exporting here.”
GM’s ventures in China have yielded some good fruit. The current generation Buick Lacrosse was largely developed by SAIC for world markets and has been a success for Buick. The GM-SAIC venture itself is regarded as perhaps the best JV in China, thanks largely to GM’s expertise and willingness to share technology and resources.
TTAC has also sampled the Chinese made Honda Fit, currently sold in Canada, and there was no appreciable difference in quality between it and other Japanese-made Fits that we’ve sampled. GM’s biggest hurdle may involve the optics of imported Chinese cars, rather than any major gaps in quality.