GM To The Rescue: Chinese Car Exports Under Full Sail

gm to the rescue chinese car exports under full sail

So far, the feared Chinese car exports were nothing to write home about. Imports to China are outpacing exports from China by a wide margin. In units and especially in value. While China manages to sell a few cheap pickups to developing countries, it has become the #1 market for the (imported) Mercedes S Class. The German car industry in particular is running extra shifts to keep up with the Chinese appetite for German imports. One carmaker is determined to change that gross trade imbalance. Not Chery. Not Geely. It’s General Motors.

GM expects exports of its China-made Chevrolet Sail to more than quadruple next year, a senior executive told Bloomberg. The Sail exports are targeted at emerging markets that want low-cost quality vehicles.

Terry Johnsson, vice president for GM’s China operations told Reuters: “Next year, the growth will certainly be many times more than our 2010 number. At minimum, our business will be 10,000 units export for Sail. It could be 20,000 or even more.”

GM has just started exporting Sails in earnest. In the coming years, Made-in-China Chevys will be shipped to emerging markets in South America, Africa, Middle East and Eastern Europe. Add to that the supposedly Made-for-China, but in reality made for export from China Bao Jun, a product made by GM’s joint venture with SAIC and Wuling, and you have a nice little export machine right there.

Other foreign carmakers don’t want to be left behind, and copy GM’s strategy . Who would have thought that the countries that were the most paranoid of Chinese import end up jump-starting Chinese exports?

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  • Forraymond Forraymond on Dec 21, 2010

    I'm thinking it's something like "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

  • Jcap Jcap on Dec 21, 2010

    Car company's look envious at the insane profit margins of electronics company's, that design their products in Tokyo, California or Soul and than make them dirt cheap in China. Everyone in manufacturing looks at those profit margins with foam around their mouth. Thats the reason Mr. Schmitt is in China right? ;) On ebay, you can buy knock of "OEM" Headphones directly from China, that resemble the original in every way, except that instead of 49,99$ they are 4,99$ including airmail.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
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  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.