GM's Sales Double - In China

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Get ready for GM leaving the country and moving to China for good. GM’s sales in the world’s largest auto market more than doubled in October from a year earlier. GM sold 166,911 vehicles in China last month, Reuters reports. From January to October, GM sales in China amounted to 1.46 million units and exceeded 1.5 million units as of Monday.

In the US, GM had sold 176,632 units in October, and 1.7 million units for the first ten months of the year. If this trend continues, GM will soon sell more cars in China than back home. Last September, they already did.

Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM’s China operations, said that GM aims to grow faster than the already red-hot Chinese market. So far, he is meeting his goals. China’s car market grew by 80 percent in October, GM’s sales in the Middle Kingdom grew more than 100 percent.

GM plans to roll out 30 new or revamped models in China from 2009 to 2014, including 10 Buick and Chevrolet models due for launch this year and next. GM operates a major design center in Shanghai. GM’s operations outside of North America (except Opel) are already managed from Shanghai Central. Also, let’s not forget that in China, the government owns (indirectly) only 50 percent of GM. In the USA, the government owns (very directly) 61 percent.

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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  • Wsn Wsn on Nov 09, 2009

    Regional trade protectionism is prevalent in China. A joint venture such as GM-SAIC has tremendous power in the area it occupies, such as: 1) Monopolized fleet sale. VW-SAIC Passat as taxi; GM-SAIC Buick Century for government officials. 2) Tax incentive/barrier. Cars not produced by the local JV may be subjected to a higher sales tax rate. Here is a brief list of the major regions: Shanghai - GM, VW GuangDong - Honda, Toyota Beijing - Hyundai North East - VW, Honda

  • Robert Schwartz Robert Schwartz on Nov 09, 2009

    Look, all they have done in the US for twenty years is destroy capital. I, for one, hope they stop. I think we should encourage them to shut down all non-Chinese operations, and get their hands out of our pockets.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 09, 2009

    @ Flashpoint:

    Anyone who’s lived among the Chinese in the PRC will know that Chinese hate the Japanese due to the atrocities of WW2 and most of them hate buying Japanese products: cars, electronics, etc.

    Pure bunk. I have lived in China for 5 years now, and my wife is Japanese. I should know. As mentioned correctly by WSN, Japanese brands are strong in China. The Japanese brand appeal is so strong that many Chinese companies adorn their wares with Japanese names and characters (sometime funnier than Chinglish.) Again and again, we receive request to bring back a "famous Japanese brand" from our trips to Tokyo, only to find out that the brand doesn't exist in Japan. Chinese may not like the Japanese, but they sure love Japanese brands.

    • Flashpoint Flashpoint on Nov 09, 2009

      BERTEL I disagree entirely with what you said...and I'm fairly certain that Chinese women talk about your wife like a dog. And I say that because Chinese women were really, really good for that - simply starting conversations about "why we hate Japanese people" out of the middle of nowhere.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Nov 09, 2009

    Chinese women will tell you anything they think you want to hear. We are not discussing Chinese women. We are discussing brands and products. If you disagree with everything I just said, you disagree with reality. Take a look at this picture. You'll see a (Made in China) Japanese car in the #6, #7, and #9 slot. You'll see a Chinese nameplate (which they supposedly hate) in the #1 slot. A Korean in the #2 slot. A China-made Buick in the #3 slot. A China-made VW in the #4 slot.

    • Flashpoint Flashpoint on Nov 09, 2009

      I think you missed something. I specifically said, they'd default to the Japanese product if they didn't have the choice. In this case, we don't know if they did or didn't.