Thumbs Down: China's GAC Motor Throws U.S. Push Onto the Back Burner
Guangzhou Automobile Group, better known as GAC Motor, has delayed plans to commence sales of Chinese-branded cars in the United States. Apparently, there’s some kind of trade dispute between the the two countries that influenced the company’s decision.
However, back in 2018, GAC Motor was at the North American International Auto Show telling yours truly that it planned to ship product to the U.S. as early as the following year (as PR reps simultaneously requested we stop commenting on the faux tailpipes we noticed on several models).
Months later, GAC revised its business plan. The entry into the America market would come closer to 2020, it said. Now, the automaker claims the trade war has forced it to postpone things even further. This time, there’s no target.
“The current relationship between the U.S. and China, the trade war, makes the relationship is uncertain,” Zeng Hebin, president of international sales, said in a corporate address. “We’ve postponed the plan to enter the North American market.”
In a separate statement to Bloomberg, GAC explained its reasoning, similarly claiming that “the escalation of China-US trade frictions” and other “uncertainties” influenced its decision.
Unlike the previous delays, GAC provided no revised timeline for its move to America. Interesting, considering it already courted the National Automobile Dealers Association in the hopes of establishing a regional sales network. In January, GAC announced it would establish its U.S. headquarters in Irvine, CA.
It could mean the automaker is throwing in the towel, though a more likely scenario is that diplomatic tensions (and resulting tariffs) simply reached a point where it no longer makes any sense to issue bold promises.
Chinese manufacturers have spent years promising to make inroads into the U.S., with zero automakers achieving their ultimate goal. While some have gotten closer than others — namely Volvo-parent Geely, Zotye, and Great Wall Motors — by setting up trade show displays and establishing R&D centers or corporate HQs in the U.S., none would admit whether the trade dispute has forced them to alter their strategies when questioned.
[Image: GAC Motor]
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