At GM, China Rules The World

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

TTAC commentator kurkosdr is having issues with “the comminazi governments of Russia and China.” He’s hoping that “perhaps we can still save the car industry from the Chinese and the Russians.” He better be heading for the hills, because New GM has completely opposite plans.

At GM, China rules the world. The Freep writes that “while GM’s Canada and Mexico operations report through the United States, most of the rest of the world reports through China.” Everybody outside of North America (and Opel:) Polish up on your Chinese, and learn how to sing “Dong Fang Hong.” (You need to do better than the guy in the video.)

GM Shanghai’s Nick Reilly was promoted from overseeing GM’s Asia operations to overseeing all of the automaker’s operations outside of North America, except for Opel.

And the Freep loves it: “GM has learned much from its Chinese partners.” One thing GM learned that even at GM, there can be growth. As long as it’s Chinese GM.

“GM’s July sales in China through its joint ventures increased 77.7% to 144,593, which the company says makes it the best July ever in its books. For the first seven months of the year, GM’s China sales were up 42.8% to 959,035, according to GM,” says the Freep. Hussa! Excuse us: Hao ba!

How long will it be until whole GM is chinesefied? Not long, thinks George Magliano of IHS Global Insight:

“If you look at GM going forward, they are a smaller company, they are more refocused. If they turn themselves around and they have resources . . . to put behind things, it’s going to be China and Asia.”

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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4 of 14 comments
  • King Bojack King Bojack on Sep 01, 2009

    Mr. Farago, if GM winds down US operations and shifts to Chinese everything then they won't have to worry about the US dragging them under. This is very well what's likely at foot here and of course, quite sad.

  • Charly Charly on Sep 01, 2009

    What is good for GM isn't necessary good for the USA anymore

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Sep 01, 2009

    There isn't much point in exporting 'kits' aka CKD from China to the USA. The quality problems from CKD are not insurmountable, but they are hard, and of course you've still got 500 bucks of labor in the thing if you assemble it in the USA, vs about $20 in China. I don't know what the difference in shipping costs is, but the sheer convenience of being able to drive the car off the boat onto the transporter must outweigh the hassle of unpacking crates and throwing the parts together etc. Might be worth looking at the current success of CKD around the world, I'm sure the dynamics have changed since the 90s.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Sep 02, 2009

    The difference between shipping CKD kits and whole cars is negligible. CKD is not very cost-efficient. You either want to build it there or ship it there. CKD was born as a way to circumvent customs duty, if the duty on whole cars was higher than on parts.