GM added more capacity to its Chinese Baojun brand by opening a factory in Liuzhou, southern China. Plant and brand are part of the SAIC GM Wuling joint venture, where GM holds 44 percent, SAIC 50 percent, with 6 percent held by Wuling.
Baojun started with the Baojun 630, a compact sedan based on an older Buick Excelle/Daewoo Lancetti platform, later the Le Chi was added, a rebadged Chevrolet Spark. By 2015, Baojun wants to have a total of five models, Reuters says.
Baojun is one of China’s joint venture brands, which we at TTAC like to call “fake Chinese brands.” (Read More…)
“It’s too early to say for sure whether GM will purchase the controlling stake in HKJV, and thereby regain full control of its India business. It is unlikely that SAIC will relinquish its grip on India, just because it suddenly can’t service the capital requirements of the HKJV. Possibly, more information will become available when GM files its Q3 paperwork, or possibly later.”
As it turns out, they did.
A fight between two makers of cheap Chinese delivery vans will spill over to America – in more ways than one. China’s Jonway is a small carmaker from Zhejiang Province. Usually known for cheap pickup trucks, Jonway launched the Wuxing onto China’s small van segment. That segment is ruled by Wuling, the company that has a joint venture with GM. Jonway is also ruled by an American company: Californian ZAP bought 51 percent of Zhejiang Jonway Automobile Co. Ltd. in 2011. (Read More…)
GM is casting nervous glances at its perennial antagonist in China, Volkswagen. For both, China is a strategic high ground.
- GM sells more than a quarter of its global production in China. GM sold a record 2,547,171 units in China in 2011, which is more than the 2,503,797 units sold in the U.S. last year.
- Volkswagen also sells more than a quarter of its global production in China. Volkswagen sold a record 2.26 million units in China in 2011, which is twice the numbers of cars the Volkswagen Group sold back home in Germany.
“So?” I hear you say. “Both are doing great. What’s to worry?” Where shall I begin? (Read More…)
GM China always had a comfortable lead over Volkswagen in China – at least on paper. More than half of GM China’s volume comes from small delivery vans, made by a three-way joint venture with SAIC and Wuling, in which GM held 34 percent. This share had been recently raised to 44 percent. The joint venture agreement allows GM to claim 100 percent of the small cars as theirs. “Whatever turns them on” (or Chinese word to that effect) say the other JV partners who happily count the cars again in their annual reports. There is one big problem with that. The “breadvan segment” (so called because the cars looks like loafs on wheels) has been shrinking and is ruining GM’s otherwise good Chinese numbers. Now, GM can’t take it anymore, and is using a familiar tactic: “GM is sacrificing profit margins to maintain market share in China, cutting prices of low-cost minivans by as much as 15 percent to offset slowing sales in the world’s largest vehicle market,” Bloomberg reports.
GM China, our recently no longer so reliable oracle for the Chinese market, raised its November sales by 11 percent, compared to an absolutely batty November 2009. 11 percent are not the same growth as the 109.5 percent GM China had recorded in last year’s November, but how much battier do you expect them to get? The more meaningful number is that for the first 11 months of 2010: From January through November, GM’s China sales jumped 33 percent to a mind-blowing 2.17 million units. GM China will most likely close out the year in the 2.35 to 2.4m area – this is higher than the total sales of some of Europe’s larger countries, and definitely a whole lot more than GM sells back home. Better get used to it. (Read More…)
Yesterday, Ed introduced us to the latest addition to GM’s brand portfolio, the BaoJun. Introduced in China, it is allegedly slotted below the Chinese Chevrolet and the Chinese Buick, and supposedly, it is targeted at “first-time buyers in the nation’s second- and third-tier markets,” or so the propaganda goes. The car is made by the SAIC-GM-Wuling (SGMW) joint venture. We’ve had our eyes on that brand for a while, and eyed it with interested suspicion. The suspicion seems to be warranted. (Read More…)
GM appears to be sick of the constant needling it receives about their Wuling joint venture in China. Here is a company that produces half of the 2 million cars GM proudly announced as theirs in China, and GM owns only 34 percent. (The 37 percent that had been bandied about apparently were also exaggerated.) 50.1 percent are owned by SAIC, the rest by Wuling. Contractually, GM is entitled to pull the wool over the heads of the world and OICA, and count the millions of diminutive Wulings as theirs. Now, GM is taking steps to redeem themselves. Or to redeem some of the IPO take. But just a little. (Read More…)
GM Chairman and CEO Ed Whitacre has made his first real media availability today, answering questions on a number of issues including the deal that sent control of GM’s most important Chinese joint venture to its partner, SAIC. According to Whitacre, the deal was put in place by former CEO Fritz Henderson. “It was sort of done before I got here,” Whitacre tells Reuters. Not to worry though, Whitacre has met with his counterpart at SAIC and was assured that “the nature of the partnership would not change.” Meanwhile, Gasgoo all but confirms that the rationale behind the deal is competition in India’s small-car sweepstakes, as a $3,500 sub-Spark model is apparently being planned to compliment the GM-SAIC-Wuling commercial vans that will spearhead the effort. Given how crowded India’s small car market is shaping up to be, it’s interesting that Whitacre didn’t cancel the agreement as he did with Henderson’s deal to sell Opel to Magna. And as for Henderson’s departure? “There was just a common agreement that what you want to do is not what I want to do,” says Whitacre.