On the eve of the Tokyo Motor Show, at least one Japanese automaker is focusing outside of Japan as it looks to the future. As Honda Motor Co. expects record U.S. sales this year, Honda president Takanobu Ito says that he wants the Japanese automaker’s North American operations to eventually export up to 30% of their production.
For many years, U.S. automakers warned against the red menace of millions of cheap Chinese cars flooding a helpless American market. It never happened. What finally got the Chinese export machine going a little bit was GM, which started shipping Made-in-China Chevrolet Sails. The Sails convinced buyers around the world that those Chinese cars aren’t as bad as thought, and now China exports around 5 percent of its production. GM expects to export between 100,000 to 130,000 vehicles from China this year, and wants to more than double the number by 2015.
Ford chief Alan Mulally today joined the ranks of people calling for increased Chinese car exports. He’s ready to export Fords from China. (Read More…)
A few weeks ago, GM’s spokesman Greg Martin said:
“There will be no exports of these cars built in China. Cars that are built in China are sold in China.”
No true, said GM China head Bob Socia to Reuters today, reiterating former statements that GM’s Chinese export machine is in full swing: “GM plans to export as many as 130,000 China-made vehicles this year, up from 77,000 vehicles in 2012, driven by demand for its Chevrolet Sail in other emerging markets,” Reuters writes. (Read More…)
When Autoblog was invited to one of those hurried and harried press conferences at the Shanghai Auto Show, and asked GM China president Bob Socia about car exports from China to America, they were told:
“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 … We’re open to be doing that. There’s no reason why we can’t be exporting to the States.”
We gave the matter short shrift. We know China-made Honda Fits are in Canada and elsewhere without giving people fits. Also, we have been following GM China’s export activities for many years. GM started exporting the Sail from China in 2010, making it “the first time a world-class automaker will export from China a model it developed in the country,” as the Nikkei said. Actually, it was GM that got China’s heretofore sputtering auto export machine going.
For some folks, like Chris Butler at the Franklin Center’s Watchdog site for Tennessee, GM’s exports from China were new. Butler called GM and asked whether China will become an export base for the General: He reached spokesman Greg Martin, who said:
“There will be no exports of these cars built in China. Cars that are built in China are sold in China.” (Read More…)
Many people don’t realize that most of the “import” cars bought and sold in America no longer roll off a boat, but off an assembly line somewhere in the American heartland. Or at least in the North American heartland. It comes as an even bigger surprise that these cars are one of America’s most successful export products, going from American ports to many countries in the world – where people often are likewise ignorant of the car’s American origin. (Read More…)
The slowdown of Chinese car sales, applauded in some circles that applaud any negative news out of China, could finally unleash the flood of cheap Chinese cars exported to foreign markets, something that had been long predicted, but which has been a bust for even longer. “Battling a slowdown and intense competition in their home market, Chinese carmakers are increasingly looking to exports for growth,” China Daily writes. (Read More…)
In a sit-down with Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Monti , Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne and chairman John Elkann came to a belated conclusion: A slump in Europe is not such a bad thing of you can sell you cars elsewhere. After the sit-down, Fiat told Reuters that it wants to “re-orient” its business model in Italy “to focus on exports, particularly outside of Europe.” This, the person familiar with the situation said, can mean only one thing: Get ready for made-in-Italy Jeeps and Imported from Torino Chryslers. (Read More…)
There is one thing about the Chinese car industry that can’t be said often enough: It is learning fast. A year ago, the recurring theme at the Chengdu Global Automotive Forum was brands, brands, brands. This year, nobody talks about new brands anymore. The only one who does is the CEO of Dongfeng, one of China’s largest automakers. He says last year’s brand binge was misguided, “irrational, incompetent, and immature.” (Read More…)
It’s not quite the bursting bubble that had been prognosticated by many through the last decade, but there is no doubt that “the world’s largest auto market sputters in a slowing economy,” as Reuters writes.
“Be careful what you wish for” is not the Chinese proverb it often is made up to be, but it applies: The red menace of Chinese car exports, longer predicted than the bursting bubble and likewise for long a chimera, finally appears to get going. The sputtering Chinese home market provides the push to find better fortunes abroad, but General Motors broke the dam that held Chinese exports back. (Read More…)
It looks like Carlos Ghosn is tired of talking about the inaction of the Japanese government with regards to the killer yen. He told his people to start packing. The Nikkei [sub] reports today that Nissan will stop making in Japan newly developed cars for export from Japan. New cars will be produced at overseas plants.
“Under current foreign exchange rates, there can be no shipments from Japan of totally new projects,” Nissan’s COO Toshiyuki Shiga said. According to the report, anything with a new chassis that is intended for foreign markets will begin its life in those foreign markets. Says The Nikkei: (Read More…)
Quite ironically, foreign carmakers, namely GM and now French PSA, help China kick-start its ailing export machine.
Everybody had been hysterical about cheap Chinese cars that would soon flood the market, but it didn’t happen. Quite the opposite is happening: Joint venture brands, led by General Motors, are grabbing a larger and larger share of the Chinese market. And foreigners are gearing up to get China a chunk of the world market. (Read More…)
In many ways it was a strange scene. The president of Korea, speaking in a US factory that builds the replacement to a car that was once imported from Korea. The president of the United States, speaking in a factory that can only competitively build subcompact cars because of a government-ordered “innovative labor practices” that unionized workers were not able to ratify. In many ways, both President Obama and President Lee were visiting the graveyard of their ideals. Which is another way of saying, that this meeting symbolizes a new pragmatism.
American workers may not be getting paid what they once were, but they’re building cars at a profit. Korea may not be exporting as many cars to the US, but it’s putting the squeeze on Japan. Professor Kim Seung-jin of Hankuk University sums up the dynamic in the Korea Times, saying
There is no free lunch in the world… Korea should get into the U.S. market prior to Japan and China. The more we delay the less the advantage. You should know that the world is still living off the American market
This deal probably won’t boost US auto exports to Korea in the way Obama is hoping for, but it’s a reminder that US manufacturing is slowly becoming more competitive… and that our market remains an attractive place to do business. Free trade is necessarily a messy business for politicians, and protectionism might have kept Orion’s wages higher or Aveo production in Korea. But by embracing free trade, these two presidents could walk into Orion, live up to the downsides of free trade, and promise a stronger, more sustainable economic future.
The Japanese car industry is slowly but surely producing and exporting itself out of the huge hole caused by the March 11 tsunami. The Japanese domestic market remains where it was before the catastrophe: In the dumps. This is the bottom line of August production, export and domestic sales data released today by the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association. (Read More…)