By on October 28, 2013

#8 Chevrolet Cruze. Picture courtesy

When one thinks of General Motors’ relationship with China, Buick flashes into the mind like a brake light in the Beijing smog. Sometimes, Cadillac comes up, as well. However, with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony Stewart, CEO Dan Akerson is planning to aggressively push Chevrolet through the choking air, and into as many Chinese garages as he can find.

As Automotive News reports, the push will be directed by GM China’s chairman Tim Lee, who will also add SUV sales goals to the maturing market:

We got still a lot of mother brand-building to do for Chevrolet and we will resource that appropriately and get that job done… It’s a brand that has a total history in the country of about seven or eight years, so based on that relatively short time in the marketplace, our brand awareness is good, our product consideration is good. But can it be better? I guess.

The first volley fired in the upcoming battle for Chinese automotive supremacy will be the introduction of the second-generation Cruze to spur demand in the country’s burgeoning western sector, as well as smaller — and, one hopes, fully occupied — cities. GM aims to add 1,000 dealerships to this area by 2017, backed by an $11 billion investment through 2016 that promises to establish four new assembly plants manufacturing locally around 5 million units per year. GM also plans to bulk up Cadillac’s presence in China with a locally built version of the ATS come 2014.

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12 Comments on “Chevrolet In Duel With Volkswagen For The Heart of China...”

  • avatar

    Wise move with getting Cruze out there but I don’t see most of Cadillac’s current lineup appealing to the Chinese.

  • avatar

    I see nobody is stepping up to grab the byline on this one. Help me out here: “with Volkswagen preparing to slingshot past them in a manner akin to Danica Patrick being flung toward the front of the pack with help from Tony Stewart”

    OK, I get that in today’s metaphor the part of Danica is being played by Volkswagen. Who’s playing Tony Stewart?

  • avatar

    Fleet sales. That is VW’s secret in China, particularly in second-tier cities, where virtually every cab is a 2nd gen VW Jetta/Bora or Santana. The fact that VW is able to concurrently manufacture and sell SEVERAL generations of the same model, ensures that there is a VW for every niche or price point.

    The ubiquitous nature of this model also ensures that there virtually ANY mechanic stocks VW parts. Often, Chinese branded models may need to wait for parts, but never a VW. I once recall seeing a bodyshop that had shelves and shelves of fenders, hoods, and seats for varioius VW models (some new, some used), which they were able to readily draw from for repairs. The fact that there are so many of them on the road, meant that those parts were unlikely to sit on the shelf for a long time.

    While Buick and GM generally are making inroads, they are not anywhere close to achieving that type of market saturation, particularly in the lower end of the market.

  • avatar

    If only I could invent a car that runs off of atmospheric pollution. I’d make trillions of dollars in China.

    Seriously – are there any studies about the intake systems or air filters in China cars? When I live there (in Shanghai) the pollution is so bad, you can’t see 3 miles. Wash a car and there’s a layer of dust on it an hour later.

    I walk down Guo Ding Road and see COAL fired furnaces SMH.

  • avatar

    China is a new America – As goes GM so goes China and vise versa.

  • avatar

    Your last line explains the smog. China’s electric generators run on coal, and China has some of the largest deposits of smokey brown (soft) coal on the planet. For steel plants they buy Australian hard coal, but electrical generation and many smaller furnaces use the brown coal, with very little in the way of smokestack scrubbers. As a command economy (as far as utilities are concerned), they’ll take action eventually, but it might be only after a Chinese equivalent of London’s killer fog of the early ’50s.

  • avatar

    I wonder if the Chinese are getting European VW reliability or American? Seems like they are getting the European version.

  • avatar

    Biggest mistake from GM in last years was no SUV´s for Chevrolet i mean GM was biggest automaker in China for years- now VW group will be biggest in 2013.

    GM has in China Wuling – succesfull cheap brand selling thousands of minivans and MPV´s each day, Buick – is considered almost premium brand in China and is really popular and than there is Chevy-volume brand with not unique image or anything – just one of many brands in China-while GM is strong in SUV segment in NA, they lack in China they missed SUV boom in last years, Chevroelt in China should have in thier line-up instead of 1 4-5 SUV´s from all sizes – they would be much bigger in CHina. REally Chevrolet SUV´s line-up – they missed huge opportunity here

  • avatar

    VW has two partner companies and decades of history in China. Almost all cabs and police vehicles are the VW Santana.

    Chevrolet has 8 years.

    I foresee GM losing this duel. They brought a BB gun to put against VW’s .357.

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