SAIC-GM-Wuling has now sold 1,000,000 vehicles in China for the fourth consecutive year. It is the earliest the General Motors China joint venture – required by the communist government as a successful job creating policy – has reached the milestone.
In 2011, SGMW sold its 1 millionth vehicle in October. (GM Posts August Sales Record in China as Its Biggest Maker) During the first eight months of 2012, SGMW sold an average of 3,500 vehicles every day, up 15% from the same period in 2011. Domestic sales of its Wuling mini-commercial vehicles this year have surpassed 934,000 units, giving the brand about 50% share of the segment. (Where’s Chrysler?) SGMW also offers passenger cars under the Baojun brand.
SGMW has starting to expand its sales outside China. In July, GM Egypt began production of the Chevrolet Move, which is based on the Wuling Rong Guang in China, from kits supplied by SGMW.
GM now has 12 joint ventures, two wholly-owned foreign enterprises and more than 35,000 employees in China, the world’s largest auto market. Increasingly GM design, engineering and development work is being preformed at a sprawling advanced technology center or ATC in Shanghai, an expansion trend also in evidence at Ford Motor, which bodes ill for U.S. job creation. (GM China Advanced Technical Center Nears Completion)
GM’s China ATC is billed as the “most-comprehensive advanced automotive technology development” center in the communist nation with 62 test labs and nine research labs. The 65,000-square-meter complex serves as the home of four key GM technical and design organizations – the China Science Lab, Vehicle Engineering Lab, Advanced Powertrain Engineering Lab and Advanced Design Center.
ATC is now conducting research and development of battery cells and lightweight materials as the next generation GM hybrid and electric vehicles will likely use a different design battery.
GM intends to use Chinese battery suppliers in future electric vehicles – the latest setback for beleaguered U.S. workers who are facing grim employment prospects in the moribund U.S. economy. This is no longer a blue-collar or solely a UAW problem. College level white-collar engineering jobs are at stake in advanced technologies touted by politicians as the key to returning the U.S. to global competitiveness.
General Motors is also developing with SAIC a new electric vehicle architecture in China. SAIC and GM will use the new architecture to build electric vehicles around the globe for their own profits. (See GM and SAIC to Develop New Electric Vehicle in China with U.S. Taxpayer Supported GM’s EV Knowledge and Technology)
Ford China has also posted its highest ever August sales, with 48,631 units sold, up 39% from last year as it rushes to expand its Chinese operations. Year-to-date, Ford China has sold 368,513 vehicles, up 8% from January – August 2011. Market leader General Motors sold in 220,996 units in August and 1,837,546 year-to-date. Number Two Volkswagen Group sold 1.74 million units ytd (1.48 million or +17.9% year over year) in China.
Ford broke ground for two new assembly plants, one in Chongqing and one in Hangzhou. The two plants will double Ford’s production capacity in China to 1.2 million passenger cars annually by 2015 and bring Ford’s total investment in China to US $4.9 billion. (Changan Ford Mazda Automobile Breaks Ground for Chongqing 3 and Lincoln to be sold in China by Late 2014)