Reports: GM to export China-built cars to U.S.
Shanghai -- General Motors Corp. plans to begin exports of vehicles made
in China to the United States within two years, ramping up sales to more
than 50,000 by 2014, reports said Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for GM in China did not immediately respond to a request
for comment on the reports, which were said to be based on a company
recovery plan given to U.S. lawmakers.
GM intends to sell 17,335 made-in-China passenger cars in the U.S.
market by 2011, the Shanghai Securities News and other reports said. By
2014 exports would triple to more than 51,000, it said.
The main focus would be on exporting small cars similar to the Chevrolet
Spark, the reports said.
If true, GM could end up becoming the first automaker to begin exporting
to the U.S. from China: previously announced plans by Chinese
manufacturers to crack the U.S. market have so far fizzled.
Most Chinese automakers have been daunted by the challenge of meeting
stringent U.S. safety standards. They also face the uphill battle of
winning consumer confidence for their unfamiliar brand names.
Brand name recognition is perhaps the least of GM's problems as it faces
a June 1 government-imposed deadline to finish a restructuring plan or
follow Chrysler LLC into bankruptcy protection.
Opting to export from China would help the company, now surviving on
$15.4 billion in federal loans, to slash production costs and make full
use of its huge investments in factories here.
But it likely would raise protests from labor unions it has been seeking
to win concessions from as part of its restructuring.
The plan also would represent a shift from past strategy. GM officials
have long emphasized their commitment to first meeting demand in China
before considering exports to the U.S. or other markets.