By on April 19, 2017


SAIC Motor, China’s largest state-owned automotive manufacturer, is canceling its plans to export vehicles into North America. Likely fearful of the current administration’s trade proposals, SAIC is blaming President Donald Trump for its hesitation to enter the Western market.

Of course, the Chinese automaker isn’t ruling anything out entirely. Michael Yang, the executive director of SAIC’s international division, explained at the Shanghai motor show that the company might resume its plans for U.S. expansion once trade tensions ease between the two countries. As the Trump administration hasn’t exactly celebrated the idea of imported goods and foreign manufacturing, it could be a long wait. In the meantime, SAIC Motor will be focusing its efforts on the European market. 

Despite President Trump having softened his stance on Chinese trade in the recent months, much of his campaign rhetoric accused the country of unfair trade practices, and he has threatened to implement stiff tariffs on imported products. The current atmosphere isn’t ideal for SAIC — or any Chinese carmaker — to rush headlong into America. “Eventually we aim to have all, but at the moment we are focusing on [China and then Europe],” Yang said. “The reason is the ‘climate change’ after the new presidency.”

The changing of the guard hasn’t kept other automakers from testing the waters, however. According to Bloomberg, Guangzhou Automobile Group is continuing its plan to establish a research center in the United States in order to conduct a preliminary study of the North American market. Yu Jun, the general manager of the company’s Trumpchi subsidiary, announced at the Shanghai show that his company anticipates entering the U.S. no later than 2019.

“Trumpchi’s goal is to become a world-class Chinese brand,” said Yu. “And we would like to make our research, production and sales global.”

That seems overly ambitious.

While Geely has managed to enter the West indirectly via its purchasing of Volvo, and might eventually rollout its Lynk & Co branded vehicles, other Chinese automakers have been spinning their wheels. BYD has been making appearances at American automotive shows for years under a similar premise without making any real headway.

It would seem that corporate partnerships are the best way to ease into the States, and many of those already exist. Guangzhou already has an alliance with Fiat Chrysler and SAIC’s limited partnership with General Motors is the only way it can legally sell Chevrolet, Buick, and Cadillac models in mainland China. That cooperation is also how the Chinese-built Buick Envision has made its way to Western shores.

It looks as if SAIC has made it into North America already.

[Image: SAIC Motor]

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36 Comments on “(Not) Coming To America: China’s Best-selling Automaker Fingers Trump for Decision to Avoid U.S....”

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    I hope they got his permission first.

  • avatar

    Pity. I was looking forward to seeing the MG’s come over.

  • avatar

    They can blame Trump all they want, but they still couldn’t manage to make it well prior to his arrival. Labor costs in China are comparable to Mexico where most players in the NAFTA market already have a presence but don’t have to incur as many shipping costs or tariffs, and the Chinese product is lackluster. The only potential advantage to allow them the necessary low entry price to compete is the complete ripoff of intellectual property.

    • 0 avatar

      To a great extent, they could not really care about the market outside China. They are selling 20 million vehicles a year. Some Chinese manufacturers want to become Global producers, but not all. Fear of markets they do not understand is a major factor. Trumps pronouncements only make it worse

  • avatar
    Jeff Weimer

    Is that the MG RAV-4?

    • 0 avatar

      Seriously. The shameless rip-offs that China churns out never cease to amaze me.

      • 0 avatar

        Even the presenter has a ” Sergio” look, cardigan and all. No the worst advertisement for Chinese vehicles, is the aggressive Chinese Military. Their Automotive and Electronics Industry seems to think that they can divorce themselves from their Governments actions. Huawei and Xiamio are still owned by the Chinese military,. Both were started as Electronic warfare projects

  • avatar

    Do they keep up with the news? Trump LIKES the Chinese now…as long as they help out with North Korea!

    • 0 avatar

      Seeing the Chinese are providing various logistic vehicles and other military hardware to the North Koreans, I suspect Trumps love affair with them will be short lived

  • avatar
    Dan R

    It is said to have 756 hp.

  • avatar

    We have enough third tier brands, thanks.

    • 0 avatar

      I had to raff when I saw “world-class Chinese brand!”

      Waiting to see a Consumer Repots thing on the Bruick Inva..ENVISION!

      Howmuchyawannabet there is absolutely NO mention of that vehicle’s patronage ANYWHERE around a Bruick dealership, except in some fine print in sales literature that could only be read with an electron microscope! (I’d even be curious to know if the training and orientation stuff for the sales-bots makes mention of it.)

      • 0 avatar

        I honestly haven’t looked at a window sticker up here in Canada for a while but wouldn’t they have to disclose the country of origin/manufacture/sources of major components on the window sticker for Envisions sold in the USA?

    • 0 avatar

      The Envision Premium is far from Tier 3 and is selling with RDX and NX for top spot in near-luxury while doubling sales of GLC, QX, F-Pace, X1, Macan…

      Though it could sell a few more if built here, most do not care where it is built.

  • avatar

    Haha you said Fingers Trump…haha.

  • avatar

    Maybe their new research center will inform them that ‘psyche,’ ‘GAG,’ and ‘Trumpski’ are not suitably evocative names? Bu jau!

  • avatar

    They’re just at a loss to find a better brand name than Trumpchi, although nearly any word at all would be an improvement.

  • avatar

    Trump has just saved a couple hundred of Americans from years of pain and aggravation.

  • avatar

    No melamine soup for you! Ha Ha!

    Maybe later if u make nice.

  • avatar

    The irony is so delicious. Former EIC Ed Niedermeyer spent years attacking Detroit, and then took a gig as a Republican party writer.

    Now the Republican party has cock blocked China from entering the US auto industry, helping the Detroit 2-1/2.


    2009 Republican values – KILL DETROIT! KILL GM!
    2017 Republican values – SAVE DETROIT! MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!


  • avatar

    Probably face-saving as much as anything. They have failed to fire in the U.K., and they are still trying to sell their 2013 allocation of ‘new’ car stock in Australia. Below average cars incompetently marketed at established marque prices. How was the US going to be any different?

    • 0 avatar

      Total disaster. Who in their right mind would buy them? Been several attempts to introduce Chinese crud : cars and Pickups. They lasted as long as a pool of water on a summers day

    • 0 avatar

      Not very good face-saving though, so even that’s third rate. Pretending to prepare to sell in the West works wonders on impressing govt lackeys. And here in this no-story is more free PR.

  • avatar

    They could always come in and partner with a US manufacturer to set up local production, you know, exactly how the Chinese deal with any car maker that wants to sell there (or else deal with crazy tariffs).

    GMs are chock full of Chinese components already, I suppose this is the natural progression of things.

    The Chinese made some decent inroads in the Russian market, ultimately they had more success in the commercial large vehicle market (dump trucks, cab over engine delivery type trucks, buses). The first few years of Chinese cars were abysmal: crazy rust within 3-4 years, interior/exterior trim failing, headlights discoloring, etc. The powertrains are generally okay (tried and true Mitsubishi and Toyota 4cyl knockoffs from 20 years ago). “Great Wall” Hilux pickup knockoffs got a decent amount of traction, and the Great Wall Hover series (Isuzu Axiom chassis knockoff, Mitsubish 2.4L gas engines, front styling like a Land Cruiser Prado) are considered to be decent bang for the buck, reliability is a middle ground between Russian makers and foreign ones (Japanese/Korean/etc).

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al From 'Murica

      I like this, but what is the incentive for the American maker. China does this to allow for the Chinese company to gain access to the “partner’s” intellectual property and methods thus improving the Chinese company in the long game. If the US makers want to build cars compatible to the Chinese they need only dust off the blueprints from some of those malaise specials.

  • avatar

    This lot are only slightly more dishonest than “The Phoenix Four” who sold them MG during a drinking session and BMW before that. I have seen approximately three (that’s between two and five) “Modern Gentlemans” on the road and they all looked shit. Even low price couldn’t pursuade buyers here. They partially assembled a few in the old Rover Longbridge plant in order to say that if they were good enough to be made in the UK then they’re good enough for you in China. I think they have a joint venture with GM so you’ll be getting some bits of them anyway in a Buick. Before you laugh remember they are coming. There was nearly 25 years between the first Toyota Crown sold in the USA and the first Camry. Compared to them, the Japanese are impatient. That’s a Donald Fact.

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