GM Introducing New Premium Import Brand for China

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gm introducing new premium import brand for china

General Motors is plotting to create a new premium brand for the Chinese market comprised primarily of halo cars shipped in from the United States. Details are scant at the moment, primarily due to GM getting caught with its pants down on the news breaking. The automaker doesn’t appear to have reached the point where it feels comfortable sharing. But Chinese media has been sharing the story for several days, forcing the company to issue an official statement confirming that it’s true.

President of GM China Julian Blissett has likewise stated that this will be a subsidiary wholly owned by the company, bucking the joint-partnership trend that was mandatory for any foreign automaker hoping to sell at meaningful volumes. Though it was already becoming unpopular, Western industries often accused it of being an easy way for the Chinese government to steal intellectual properties before squeezing them out.

Reuters reported Blissett as saying the new company will possess a high level of autonomy and focus on importing premium or high-performance halo cars from GM’s other brands. However, the language being used for the Chinese market seems to downplay that it’ll lack the usual tie-ins with local business entities.

“We are inviting talent from across the industry to join us and jointly create our brand-new business in China,” read the statement.

From Reuters:

The U.S. automaker issued the statement after multiple Chinese media outlets reported this week about the new wholly owned brand.

According to a Shanghai-based GM spokesperson, Blissett told Chinese media outlets on Friday the new premium brand will specialize in selling upscale GM vehicles currently unavailable in China through its existing brands. Those brands include Wuling, Baojun, Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac, all of which are owned and operated with Chinese joint-venture partners.

While the models going into the new brand’s lineup have yet to be announced, we can make some presumptions based on which halo cars haven’t yet made their way to China. I would hazard a guess that this new business will include the Cadillac Escalade (pictured above) rather prominently. GM previously teased the SUV during the 2020 China International Import Expo, and a few times before that, drumming up all kinds of interest while suggesting it could sell the model in Asia. But it changed its mind in favor of localizing other models offering better volumes. Since this is going to be an import-only brand focused on expensive products yielding lower volumes, I’m expecting the Escalade to feature prominently. Meanwhile, the automaker has said all questions will be answered at a later date, though no specific timeline was given.

[Image: plavi011/Shutterstock]

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  • SnarkIsMyDefault SnarkIsMyDefault on Mar 09, 2022

    GM has Premium Brands? Who are they buying them from?

  • Schmitt trigger Schmitt trigger on Mar 09, 2022

    If I were Xi Jinping, I would consider GM’s announcement as a declaration of war.

    • RHD RHD on Mar 10, 2022

      Comment of the day! We all can foresee GM losing that incursion even before it starts. Odds of success: maybe one in a thousand, or one in ten thousand? GM keeps making errors in the field, and swinging hard and striking out - but somehow, incredibly, they are still in the game.

  • ToolGuy I blame Canada.
  • Syke This is one of those days when you come up with an article that I just live to comment on. I'm retired from (but still working at three half days a week - retirement was boring) Richmond Honda House, a Honda/Yamaha/Can-Am/Sea Doo dealership. No, I'm not a mechanic. I'm the guy who handles all the recall/warranty claims. Which between the three major brands, and a couple of small Asian brands is enough to keep me busy for about fourteen business hours split across Tuesday thru Thursday. Yes, the Spyders are reliable, but when they do break down they can be a nightmare due to you have to have a laptop plugged into one to do most kinds of service. First hint: You absolutely do not want to do massive aftermarket sound system upgrades to a Spyder. We've had nightmares with them in the past. I swear half our original customers back in the 2008-2010 period bought theirs to turn into a three-wheeled boom box, which would invariably cause voltage fluctuations in the electrical system, thus driving the various black boxes wonky and causing all sorts of problems.Those of you who decry computerization in modern automobiles will find that the Spyder is even more so. I've noticed that the Spyder has gotten a lot better since Bombardier dropped the original V-twin engine (same one that Aprilia used on their 1000's when they first came into the country) in favor of the current triple. Mechanical repairs to the drivetrain have definitely gone down.Used? The more recent models seem to have good reliability. No, not as good as the current Gold Wing, or any generation Gold Wing for that matter, but definitely within acceptable parameters. The older ones, especially the original 2008-2010 models, I'd recommend staying away from. How bad? During the 2008 recession, when motorcycle dealers were desperately hanging on, my office at Honda House was the single best cash flow for the company, totally because of warranty claims and recalls from the original models. Yes, Bombardier has gotten an awful lot better.Oh yeah, the company itself it decent to deal with on a business and support level. From my office, they're my favorite of the three, slightly ahead of Yamaha, and a night and day improvement over Honda. All you have to remember is that you're not dealing with Canadians, you're dealing with Quebecois. Yes, there's a difference, I was married to one for thirteen years.
  • Sgeffe How does this compare to something like the Polaris Slingshot?
  • Lou_BC I just don't like the C - pillar lines. The rear window doesn't flow with the roofline.
  • Lou_BC You'd think that since England is 40 times smaller than the USA, EV's would be a shoe in. Thanks BREXIT.