GM Plans US Sales of Chinese-Built Cars
By Brendan Moore
In a surprise move, GM is planning to import Chinese-made cars, beginning in 2011, according to Automotive News, an auto industry trade publication. The plan calls for 17,335 imports in 2011, jumping all the way up to 51,546 imports in 2014.
Apparently one of the documents meant for the federal government’s auto task force was leaked on Tuesday, and today the AP news service repeated assertions made in an article in The Shanghai Securities News that GM is planning to build cars in China like the Chevrolet Spark and then import those cars into the US as part of their plan to reduce manufacturing costs. GM currently manufactures cars in China, but all of that production has gone to Chinese customers in the past.
Let’s start with the obvious.
The UAW is going to work up quite a head of steam over this. They will point out the GM has over $15 billion dollars (USD) of taxpayer money and therefore shouldn’t be eliminating jobs in the United States. GM is also planning to import more vehicles from Korea and increase the volume of the ones coming from Mexico, in addition to the planned imports from China. These places are all outside the US (and also have lower labor costs than the US) and the UAW is going to be really unhappy if GM imports cars from any of these countries, much less all three.
The Treasury department, the Obama’s administration’s proxy in GM’s restructuring, wants GM to reduce their costs in order to be more profitable. They also want GM to manufacture small cars that use less fuel and put out fewer emissions.
However, they don’t want American jobs lost, either, and that desire directly contradicts with GM’s plans to bring in imported cars and sell those cars to Americans.
What to do, what to do, right?
Both the Treasury department and GM declined to comment today.
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