Go Big or Go Home: GM Announces EV Offensive in China

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
go big or go home gm announces ev offensive in china

Sales of General Motors vehicles sank 15 percent in 2019 — the automaker’s second straight year of annual sales pullback in that once promising market.

Maybe the product was the problem?

That seems to be GM’s thinking. On Wednesday, The General revealed its plan to capture market share in the world’s mos populous auto market with a raft of electric vehicles underpinned by its new modular electric vehicle platform, all powered by the company’s low-cobalt Ultium battery technology.

More than 40 percent of new-vehicle launches planned over the next five years will involve fully electric models, the automaker said. China will see a good measure of the $20 billion in EV investment GM has planned by the midpoint of the decade.

It’s not unlike GM’s plan for North America.

And it’s not just emissions-free driving that will tempt buyers in that EV-hungry market. By 2025, GM expects every Cadillac model to offer the brand’s Super Cruise driver-assist system, allowing for some hands-free motoring on China’s many superhighways. Buick and Chevrolet will then pick up the Level 2 torch. GM China boss Julian Blissett claimed in a video presentation that the next version of the system will take vehicles to the front door of their destination, rather than just to the off-ramp.

In addition to GM’s core brands, Chinese joint-venture marques Baojun and Wuling will see a similar electric surge.

“This market is rapidly electrifying. Cadillac is on a path to very heavy electrification. Buick is also going to heavily electrify,” Blissett told Reuters ahead of GM’s Tech Day event in Shanghai.

“The market is changing dramatically. So the concept of standing still in China doesn’t work.”

What form will these vehicles take, you ask? If you’re thinking it’ll be an SUV-heavy affair, you’d be correct. The automaker plans to add small, compact, and large EV utility vehicles, with the latter two sizes seeing a premium offering, in addition to a mainstream model. An electric pickup will also arrive, along with an electric commercial van, and inexpensive hatchback, a luxury sedan, and a shared autonomous vehicle.

The modular makeup of GM’s Ultium batteries and their unique cell chemistry means greater choice in configuration and packaging. GM can stuff a decent amount of range into even a small vehicle, boosting appeal among low-end and high-end shoppers alike. It also gives GM an advantage over rivals like Volkswagen — or at least a fighting chance.

That said, the new platform and battery tech will only benefit GM’s coffers if it can get so-equipped cars out the door in large numbers.

“Our business is a high engineering cost, high capital cost business, so, without scale, it’s quite difficult to make money. We do need to return to that,” Blisset said.

[Images: General Motors]

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  • Brett Woods Brett Woods on Aug 19, 2020

    Nothing else to do, so made this new-model brochure. Model: 2024 GMC/Wuling "Yumin" Electric retro-style mini SUV Two door with removable rear abs hardtop. Ground up EV tub and stamping. Features: Rapid charging Part-time 4 wheel drive, traction control modes for rain, snow, hill, river & rock Integrated safety cell and anti-roll assistance 110/240 volt outlet for lights, tools and camping General Specifications: L : 150 in WB: 95 in W: 72 in H: 66 in Wt: 2950 lbs Ground Clearance 10 in Suspension travel 8.5 in Tires wheel: 215/75 R16 Motor 75 kW electric Battery: 50 kWh Top speed limited 85 mph Range: 195+ miles MRSP: $21 000 USD Sales goal 2024: 80 000 China, India, South America 2500 Canada

  • RHD RHD on Aug 20, 2020

    Go Big or Go Home There are two options there, GM. GM Announces Offensive EV in China Just don't have Google Translate do your brochures, marketing materials or labels on the car, and it won't be so offensive.

  • KevinB Starbucks for a doppio espresso and gruyere and bacon egg bites in the morning, and a salt caramel cold brew in the afternoon, because I am eating and drinking myself silly at my destination.
  • MaintenanceCosts The previous generation is one of the best ways in the last 20 years to enjoy flagship-level luxury in complete anonymity.This generation is all tacky ostentation and I'd feel embarrassed to be seen in one.
  • Gene I agree that sedans sell well. Kia, Hyundai, BMW, Mercedes, Lexus, Infiniti, etc. I was very disappointed when Ford and Lincoln dropped Sedans and coupes (other than the Mustang that I have for summer weekends). I don't know where I'm going to buy my next "car". Sorry, no pick-up, suv, cuv , pms or xyz's for me. Gone thru that already.
  • Inside Looking Out "it's a Bolt that has Ampera badging and the Ampera grille." EVs do not have grills.
  • Inside Looking Out "Dmitry Medvedev recently took a trip to China and praised the country’s cars as being on par with Mercedes-Benz."That's all you need to know about Medvedev. He is not trustworthy because it is lie.