In the US, General Motors has two EVs for sale — the Chevy Volt and the Chevy Bolt. But in China, it has just doubled down on its electric car plans. According to Reuters, Matt Tsien, head of operations for GM in China, told the press in Shanghai this week the company plans to launch 10 more heavily electrified vehicle models in China between 2021 and 2023. It has already committed to offering 10 electrified models by 2020. “Clearly, we have a strategy in place and there is an implementation in place to do that,” Tsien said.
The South China Morning Post reports Tsien told the press, “China plays an essential role in the world’s drive towards a zero-emissions future.” He added that GM will continue to work with the government and suppliers to create higher awareness of electric cars in China. Even though China announced recently that foreign manufacturers may now build factories there without a local partner, GM says it is quite happy with its current partnerships with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling.
Before the change in Chinese policy was announced, Tsien said, “We are very pleased with our partnerships. Our partners have a huge amount to offer in terms of their understanding of the market and their abilities as well to work with us to make our joint ventures successful.” GM has reinvigorated the Buick brand in China, where it is seen as a premium label by Chinese consumers. A version of the Chevy Volt is sold in China as a Buck product. GM also sells its Cadillac CT6 in China as well as the diminutive Baojun E100.
The company will unveil its new Super Cruise driver assistance technology at the CES Asia 2018 show that opens June 13. GM has recently secured a $2.25 billion dollar investment in its Cruise Automation division from SoftBank Vision Fund to further develop autonomous driving systems. GM sales in China are up a healthy 8% so far this year versus 2.9% for the industry as a whole.
The stark contrast between GM’s embrace of electric cars in China compared to its mulish refusal to do the same in America is shocking, no pun intended. In the US, it is leading the charge to roll back fuel economy standards so it can continue selling highly profitable light duty pickup trucks and SUVs. “Two faced” is about the kindest thing one can say about GM’s bifurcated priorities. It appears the profits it derives from selling cars to Americans are being used to subsidize its push into the Chinese market.
The result is China will get the crème de la crème of low emissions vehicles while one of America’s largest employers will continue to deliberately poison its customer base in pursuit of profits. That’s the thanks America gets for bailing out The General during the last global economic meltdown. Here’s a note to Mary Barra and the rest of the GM board: “Thanks for nothing, GM.” Signed: American taxpayers.