GM Brings Chinese Cars To India

When you want to make and sell cars in India, you don’t need a joint venture partner. Except when you are GM. In the dark days of December 2009, GM cut a deal with Chinese partner SAIC, gave them half of its India business and a golden share in China for much needed cash. SAIC underwrote a $400 million loan when GM was out of money. Now, India is flooded with Chinese cars bearing the Chevrolet badge.

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GM Shows First Fruits Of Indian JV With China's SAIC

In GM’s darkest hour, in December 2009, GM and SAIC cut a strange deal: GM ceded control of the 50:50 China joint venture by selling 1 percent to SAIC. GM also transferred half of GM’s India operations to the Chinese company. GM received a $400 million line of credit. SAIC received access to the Indian market, which it had coveted, but the Indians had sworn to keep the Chinese out. Now they rode in on GM’s coattails.

At the New Delhi auto expo, GM India yesterday “unveiled the first two products from its joint venture with SAIC,” while our friends of Motorbeam.com were in attendance to snap pictures.

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Reuters: GM Blazes Trail Of Small Car Exports From China

We have been predicting it for quite a while: Chinese car exports, hopelessly in a hole, will be saved by those who used to be most paranoid about Chinese exports: Foreign carmakers. Surprisingly, they are led by partially government and union-owned GM.

The new motto appears to be: “Chinese car exports bad, except if they are our Chinese.”

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GM To The Rescue: Chinese Car Exports Under Full Sail

So far, the feared Chinese car exports were nothing to write home about. Imports to China are outpacing exports from China by a wide margin. In units and especially in value. While China manages to sell a few cheap pickups to developing countries, it has become the #1 market for the (imported) Mercedes S Class. The German car industry in particular is running extra shifts to keep up with the Chinese appetite for German imports. One carmaker is determined to change that gross trade imbalance. Not Chery. Not Geely. It’s General Motors.

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China Is Cranking Up Car Export Machine. Courtesy Of GM

GM China has made good on its threat to sell Made in China GMs abroad. According to The Nikkei [sub], Shanghai General Motors Co. has begun exporting the Chevrolet New Sail from China to Chile. Some of the B&B opined that this is nothing new. However, the Nikkei says that “this is the first time a world-class automaker will export from China a model it developed in the country.” A few weeks ago, Terry Johnsson, Shanghai GM vice president of vehicle sales, service and marketing, said that this is “the first locally developed and manufactured passenger car from an international brand to be exported.”

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The Yellow Peril Is Us: Multinationals Start Exporting Cars From China

The feared takeover of the world by Chinese cars so far was a non-starter. We’ve always said that cars built at Chinese joint ventures with Western (or Japanese) companies would be best suited to break that spell. But so far, the Western (or Japanese) joint venture partners wouldn’t play ball. Why invite a Chinese joint venture abroad where it competes in your markets? Now the first international brand will export a low-end car it developed for China to Latin America. For starters. Guess who?

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  • FreedMike It's not cheap, but 45 grand for a car with this kind of performance, equipment level and practicality isn't a bad deal at all. @Tim - I think you have the wrong transmission listed in the box above. The DSG is a seven-speed, not a six-speed.
  • FreedMike During my second year of college, I took my first French class, where I discovered that if you remove the "e" from "Citroen," you get the French word for "lemon." My family had a Citroen - an SM, no less. Completely appropriate. Nice logo or not, Stellantis is going to have an uphill battle reintroducing this brand - or any French brand, for that matter.
  • IBx1 It works better as an oval than a circle as it appears in the headline photo, but I generally dislike the 2D logos everyone in the industry is adopting and think badge looked great since '09.
  • Pbxtech I like it, but it's not an improvement. Lateral move at best.
  • Cprescott It is not a disaster like the 2024 Ford Mustake.