Wale Confirms: SAIC May Sell MGs Through Vauxhall Dealers

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
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wale confirms saic may sell mgs through vauxhall dealers

Kevin Wale, head of GM China, confirmed what we had intimated a month ago: GM wants to give their Chinese joint venture partner SAIC access to GM’s sales network in the UK. “We have agreed in an MOU that we would discuss the potential for MG to be distributed in the UK,” said Wale to Reuters.

If the deal is signed, it would be unprecedented. No Chinese company so far has gained access to the distribution network of their joint venture partner. The mere idea would send shivers down automaker’s necks. China, the carbuilding monster (this year: 18 million) has pretty much been kept in its Chinese box. Western automakers have done everything to keep a lid on it. The only exports are small scale, by China’s relatively small independents, such as Chery, Geely, or Great Wall.

MG in a Vauxhall network would be something drastically different. SAIC’s MG would gain immediate brand cred and respectability. Also, the way the European market is structured, this won’t stay a solely UK deal for long. A car that is legal in the U.K. is legal anywhere in Europe. Opel dealers all over Europe can demand MGs, and it would be hard, if not impossible to say no. Once MG is established, SAIC, China’s largest manufacturer, can follow with more own brand product.

SAIC plans to start making MGs in the UK by the end of this year and sell them across the European Union.

In the eyes of most European automakers, this is a nightmare scenario, something they have fought to prevent for years. GM makes it happen.

SAIC must wield considerable power over GM to get such a deal. At least, Wale said no discussions have been held on sharing GM’s dealer network in North America. Which doesn’t mean that they won’t be held in the future.

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="http://www.tomokoandbertel.com"> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href="http://www.offshoresuperseries.com"> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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2 of 17 comments
  • Blowfish Blowfish on Dec 13, 2010

    Bertel wonder where u found this plaque? these were common during the old days when the Foreign devils carved out Middle Kingdom they have cut up Shanghai into many foreign rental treaties, similar signs were spotted in one of late great Bruce lee's movie.

  • Bertel Schmitt Bertel Schmitt on Dec 13, 2010

    I'm shaking my head about this fascination with RHD v.v. LHD cars. Ever since I worked in the industry (and that was a long time ago), RHD and LHD cars could run off the same assembly line at the same time. At least in the car industry where I worked. I arrived in Japan today, where I will stay for the rest of the year, and was reminded that all cars made here are RHD. Which doesn't prevent them from magically having the steering wheel on the right left side when they arrive in the U.S.A. and continental Europe.

    And while we are wallowing in the dark ages: All new cars sold in the EU are subject to European Whole Vehicle Type Approval: Approved in one country, legal in all. There also is something called Block Exemption Regulation that governs the selling and servicing of cars throughout the EU.

    Tstag is right. These MGs are newly developed, made in China, and assembled in the U.K.

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