Saturday, May 16, 2009

Leaked GM document shows automaker plans to sell China-built cars to U.S. consumers

Leaked GM document shows automaker plans to sell China-built cars to U.S. consumers

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A planning document given to lawmakers by General Motors reportedly shows that the Detroit-based automaker plans to ship 17,335 autos from China for sale in the U.S. in 2011. If GM succeeds in importing vehicles to the U.S. from China, it could be the first automaker to do so.

The document doesn't show which vehicle would be brought over from the land of the Great Wall (we'd take the Buick Regal, above), but it does provide GM's volume plans through 2014. By that time, GM plans to triple its China to U.S. exports to 51,546 units. While 51,546 sounds like a lot of cars, it only represents 1.6% of the planned 3.1 million (perhaps optimistic) sales the General is expecting five years from now.

Regardless of the quantity of vehicles coming in from China, union leaders are none too pleased with the development, says Automotive News. The 12-page document also showed increased production in Mexico, with annual units rising from 317,763 in 2010 to 501,316 in 2014. South Korea, which will likely make new vehicles like the Chevrolet Spark, will increase production from 36,967 in 2010 to 157,126 in 2014. In an open letter, UAW legislative director Alan Reuther has gone on record saying that GM "should not be taking taxpayers' money simply to finance the outsourcing of jobs to other countries."

While many would expect the U.S. to be the big loser here, virtually all of the related production loss occurs in Canada. According to the 12-page document, U.S. production would continue to represent two thirds of the overall sales volume for the next five years, while Canada is slated to lose 101,000 units.

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