General Motors’ joint venture in Shanghai is reportedly having employees sleep on factory floors to remain operational during regional COVID-19 lockdowns. The facilities are operated collaborative by GM and state-owned Chinese partner SAIC Motor Corp, with government restrictions being in place until at least Friday. Due to the tens of million people affected, it’s one of the largest lockdowns instituted since the pandemic started.
Initially reported by Reuters, the situation was framed as GM finding a workaround to ongoing Chinese lockdowns while other companies simply stopped production. But that seems to be glossing over some of the relevant context, mainly that the plant is now loaded up with workers who are sleeping inside the factory and living in relative isolation to ensure the facility is compliant with China’s stringent zero-tolerance policy while still managing to remain competitive.
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.
The General Motors name might be synonymous with SUVs and pickups in North America, especially after the automaker’s recent passenger car cull, but the Chinese market mostly associates it with SUVs and a bevy of cars. GM apparently wants that to change.
Government documents reveal The General is interested in getting the go-ahead for a Chinese-market pickup.
Last month, General Motors announced a plan to introduce more than 20 new and refreshed models in China in 2019 to “maintain its growth momentum in the world’s largest vehicle market” and pump EVs into what is probably the most electric-friendly region on the planet.
GM appears to love China and not without good reason. As the automaker’s largest retail sales market since 2012, GM hasn’t been afraid to fully embrace it — at the expensive of looking like it’s playing favorites and putting its homeland in the doghouse. But is that what’s really happening, or does it just feel that way when an iconic American company starts playing patty cake with a foreign entity?
We previously reported that General Motors was seeking an exemption from U.S. tariffs that could affect the domestic wellbeing of the Buick Envision, the brand’s Chinese-made utility vehicle positioned between the Encore and Enclave. At the time, GM hadn’t weighed in on if it would pull the model from the United States if it didn’t get a pass into the country.
Since then, General Motors President Dan Ammanm has said the exception is the only way the automaker sees itself being able to continue selling the model in America. The automaker confirmed that the Envision’s domestic sales are insufficient to rationalize U.S. production but noted GM needed the model to have a complete lineup against brands like Audi, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.
General Motors wants an exemption from a 25 percent U.S. tariff for the Buick Envision, the Chinese-made sport utility positioned between the Encore and Enclave. On Thursday, the automaker said it filed the request on July 30th with the U.S. Trade Representative to exclude the model from the prospective Section 301 tariff on products shipped from China.
The Envision hasn’t been a strong seller in the United States. While it managed to move 41,040 units in 2017, this year is not on track to meet that number. Obviously, the model has had some troubles. Early reviews were unfavorable, often accusing the Envision of being a faux luxury vehicle with an overly ambitious price tag. However, the manufacturer has since dropped the price and updated the vehicle for the 2019 model year.
Unfortunately, enough damage was dealt in those first two years to make the new model look less appetizing to customers. It now holds the stigma of an overpriced, Chinese-made compact crossover that falls short just about everywhere. It needs time to rebuild its image after the refresh, and it won’t be able to manage that if it is taxed into oblivion.
By the slimmest of margins, Cadillac’s U.S. operations put an end to China’s repeated dominance of Cadillac’s sales charts in August 2017.
But after Americans acquired two more Cadillacs than the Chinese did in August, normal order returned in September 2017. 49 percent of the Cadillacs sold around the world last month were delivered in China, where volume rose 38 percent, year-over-year.
Perhaps of greater consequence to Cadillac’s New York HQ is the fact that September sales not only increased in China but also in the U.S., Canada, and in its rest-of-the-world markets.
September was the 16th consecutive month of global Cadillac sales improvement. Naturally much of the credit belongs to the Cadillac XT5.
By the Slimmest of Margins, Cadillac's U.S. Operations Reclaim No.1 Position in Global Cadillac Sales Race
Cadillac, with market-specific cars and a rapidly expanding dealer network, is increasingly a China-reliant GM luxury brand.
In four consecutive months, from April 2017 through July 2017, GM’s Cadillac division sold more new vehicles in China than in its U.S. home market. Indeed, so far this year, 48 percent of the Cadillacs sold around the world were sold in China. Thank a massive 67-percent year-over-year sales gain, stirred up by very healthy Chinese demand for the XT5.
But in August, for the first time since March, Cadillac’s U.S. dealer network reasserted its collective claim as the rightful nation for Cadillac sales success. That’s correct: Cadillac sold more vehicles in the United States in August 2017 than in China.
Albeit not many more.
Buick’s stunning Avenir Concept from the 2015 North American International Auto Show will not reach production, but the concept’s Avenir nameplate will be used as a Buick sub-brand.
In the same vein as GMC’s upmarket Denali sub-brand, Avenir will become the high-end trim level “on three [Buick] models around the globe in the next 18 months,” Buick spokesperson Stuart Fowle told TTAC.
Ever been cut-off by a driver and wanted to let them know exactly how you feel without the need for a PIT bumper? Did you happen to see someone attractive pass you by, but didn’t want to be as obvious as Clark Griswold about it? If you’re in China, General Motors is about to make that dream come true in the creepiest way possible.
Stefan Jacoby, whose most recent job was CEO of Volvo, has been hired by General Motors to head their international operations. Jacoby replaces Tim Lee who is slated to become chairman of GM China as that unit is split off from the rest of GM International. Lee will continue to head global manufacturing for the Detroit based automaker. The business unit that Jacoby will be running will still have operations in more than 100 markets in Africa, Asia Pacific and the Middle East.
Today, GM did something highly unusual: It abandoned all spin and said that sales in China were down pretty much across the board in February: “General Motors and its joint ventures sold 215,070 vehicles in China during February. Sales were down 10.6 percent from the same month last year due to the week-long Lunar New Year holiday falling in February this year.” We at TTAC understand.
GM shows new vigor in its largest market China. October sales across all of GM’s Chinese joint ventures were up 14.3 percent on an annual basis. The Chinese market is of increasing importance for GM. In the first 9 months of the year, 30 percent of GM’s global sales were in China, trailed by the U.S. with 28 percent of GM’s global business.
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- Jeff S @Lou_BC--Diamonds are not really rare DeBeers dominates the diamond market and created the market with advertising starting in the 1930s thru the 40s. Before that time diamonds were for the most part considered for the wealthy and diamond wedding rings were not that common. Go back 100 years and most women wore wedding bands made of gold, silver, or other metals. DeBeers dominating the diamond market also controls the supply of diamonds keeping the prices higher by restricting supply. Sound familiar? Oil companies have learned to restrict supply of oil as well.https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/diamond-de-beers-marketing-campaign
- Statikboy So they named it after the worst cracker."Perhaps that’s why the autonomous dream appeals to so many - they’ve never experienced satisfaction, or even fun, whilst operating a motorcar.""This 2022 Mazda CX-30 Turbo, for example, can certainly handle the drudgery of the daily commute with aplomb but can make a detour on a twisty two-lane a bit more enjoyable."While the autonomous dream doesn't appeal to me at all, I think the reason that it does appeal to so many is because it theoretically has the potential to make the drudgery of the daily commute a bit more enjoyable.
- Jeff S Arthur and I might be in the minority but we miss cars like this. We will never see cars like this again and it is what it is. I did like driving my mothers 72 Sedan Deville and her 84 Chrysler 5th Avenue with leather interior and Boise Dolby stereo along with some of the other luxury cars I drove from this era. At least I got to experience them and if I want more I can always read Corey's well written articles and watch Adam on Rare Classic Cars.
- ToolGuy "Idle," or "Shutter"? Let's don't get completely lazy.
- Jeff S Might not matter during car shortages. I have a Costco and Sam's membership which I thought about using for buying a vehicle but when the Maverick order banks opened up in June 2021 I went online to built my own Maverick and still had to go to the dealer to order it. With vehicle shortages you might still have to go to the dealer to order but it might be worth it to try to use Costco if you know what you want and are not too picky about colors and options to see what is available now especially if you don't want to wait for a vehicle. I doubt in today's environment that you would save a lot on the purchase of a new vehicle especially since many dealers are adding adjustments to market prices on top of msrp.