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BATTLE HYMN OF THE DETROIT TIGER

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Jan 25, 2011

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

1lacrosseinblack
The Buick LaCrosse design received considerable input from Shanghai GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center

What’s good for the country is good for GM, and vice versa When asked during the 1953 Senate confirmation hearings for Secretary of Defense if he can make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, GM President and secretary nominee Charlie Wilson said, “…for years, I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.” Presidents Bush and Obama may have thought the same when they made the crucial decisions extending federal support to GM in recent years. But did anyone anticipate that President Hu Jintao may be thinking the same thing about GM and China? For the first time ever, GM sells more cars in China than in the USA General Motors just released its sales figures for 2010, and for the first time in its history, GM has sold more vehicles in China than in the United States. The year before, China surpassed the United States to become the world's largest car market. General Motors reported this week that it delivered 8,389,769 vehicles globally in calendar year 2010, a 12.2 percent increase from 2009 deliveries of 7,477,178. Even more impressive, however, is that GM achieved a 28.8 percent increase in China. The sales figures come at the heels of an announcement that General Motors and its Shanghai General Motors joint venture just signed a two-year agreement worth $900 million to export Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet vehicles and components to China. The agreement is evidently part of a series of trade and investment agreements between China and the United States signed in Chicago during the official visit of Chinese President Hu Jintao to the U.S. GM China Group Vice President David Chen was on hand to sign the agreement on behalf of General Motors. The vehicle exports are valued at $500 million and the component exports are valued at $400 million.

Buick Excelle 2008
GM's best-seller: The Buick Excelle

The Chinese Connection After struggling with a joint venture launch in 1991 that ultimately failed, GM set up a successful partnership in 1996 with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC), and followed it up with another successful partnership with Wuling Automotive. In 2005, General Motors surpassed Volkswagen as the number one automaker in China. Some credit goes to Volkswagen for showing the way. In 1985, VW began producing cars in China, and by 1995, it held a 50 percent market share. Volkswagen remains a dominant player in China and comfortably holds the number two spot in sales. GM’s history in China actually goes back to 1929, when Buick opened its first dealership in Shanghai. Ever since the last emperor owned two Buicks, the brand has been held in high regard. During the dark ages of GM (we’re talking 2-3 years ago, when GM had its bankruptcy problems), many domestic pundits were puzzled as to why GM killed off Saturn, Pontiac, and earlier Oldsmobile, but not Buick. The answer is the Chinese connection—and Buick is a big seller in China. With sales in China projected to grow even more in the coming years, GM has an aggressive plan that will eclipse US sales even more than it has. On the other hand, "GM fully supports a mutually beneficial, open and productive trade environment, which can bring a win-win outcome to all parties involved,” says Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group. “We are committed to working with both countries to promote bilateral trade.” Today, Shanghai GM is China’s leading passenger car manufacturer. Last year, it sold 1,033,307 vehicles to local consumers. It’s product strongholds are the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands. GM has been the sales leader among automakers in China for the past six consecutive years, and it fully intends to stay there for the long haul. - Roy Nakano

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The Chinese Buick GL8 Luxury MPV

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