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When General Motors unveiled its new Buick Enclave crossover SUV to the media in Pasadena, Calif., last month, it did so with the help of one of the biggest American sports stars.

Golfer Tiger Woods made all the right noises about the new luxury vehicle at the Los Angeles Auto Show, calling it “stylish” and “elegant.” But the future of GM’s 103-year-old brand may hinge not on the face of an iconic sportsman but because of China, which this year will pass Japan as the world’s second-largest vehicle market after the United States.

This year, the Buick brand looks set to sell more cars in that country than in the United States, according to Automotive News.
 

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The industry publication calculates that Buick sold 206,582 vehicles in the United States in the first 10 months of this year, down 15.4 percent from the same period of 2005. During the same period, Buick sold 218,603 vehicles in China, an increase of 27.4 percent.

Why the Chinese interest in Buick? While it has seen its status fade here in the United States, the longstanding American brand has never lost its reputation in China. And GM has managed to build on that status, selling vehicles under four major brands — Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Saab — through Shanghai General Motors, a joint venture between GM and Shanghai Automotive Industry.

The Sino-U.S. joint venture sells Buicks such as the LaCrosse, the Excelle and the GL8 to Chinese consumers, and it has overtaken German rival Volkswagen AG to become the top automaker in China in 2006, where it has 13 percent of the market. China is now GM’s biggest market after the United States.

The growth comes as GM focuses intently on the growing Chinese market, investing $3 billion over four years ending in 2007, building a network of dealerships and factories.

The thinking is that as GM works to revive its flagging business, which posted a worldwide loss of $10.6 billion for 2005, the booming Chinese economy is a significant new source of revenue that can provide the company with the sort of strong growth that isn’t found in the United States or other Western markets.

Automotive analysts have long said that big U.S. automakers like GM have too many brands to support. Two years ago, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz unforgettably described Buick and its sister brand Pontiac as “damaged,” triggering speculation that they would soon be killed off.

Yet both Buick and Pontiac have endured, even though their U.S. sales have lagged in recent years as Japanese and Korean automakers have chalked up significant market share gains. In the face of such fierce competition, many have questioned whether these brands — and others like GM’s Saturn brand and Ford’s Mercury nameplate — can survive in the long term.

GM is working to reverse the staid, old-fashioned aura that surrounds its Buick, Pontiac and GMC brands in the United States through an aggressive restructuring campaign, consolidating dealer networks and focusing on fewer models, making Pontiac its sporty car line, GMC a truck product and Buick a more upscale brand.

The Enclave, which will hit dealerships in late spring or early summer, follows the new GMC Acadia crossover, which is now on sale. Both are based on a unibody platform, offering a smoother ride and better fuel economy than the body-on-frame construction of older SUVs.
 

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Yep, it would be total hypocrisy if US rejects Chinese cars. All US car makers have been doing very profitable business in China for decades, and GM is now #1 in China. US has no excuse to not allow Chinese cars to enter the US market.
 

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Sorry, but...........

OK, let's look at a few facts here..............first, let's keep in mind that ALL foreign car companies (american, german, japanese, etc...) are PARTNERSHIPS with a chinese company - and under chinese law the foreign company CANNOT have a majority ownership in the company. Second, not ALL american "companies" (i.e. brands) are here. The "big three" are here (GM, Ford and Chrysler) but NOT all of their subsidaries. In other words, Ford does not sell Lincoln or Mercury in China, GM does not sell Pontiac and Chrysler does not sell Dodge.

The other thing to remember............MOST of the amreican cars that are sold in China are BUILT in China. GM, Ford and Chrysler are investing billions of dollars to build assembly factories and facilities in China, and therefore providing chinese jobs as a result. This is A LOT different than a chinese car company exporting a car in importing it into the USA.....american labor (other than sales and service workers at the showrooms) is not involved. If american companies had to export their products into China (and pay the relavant import taxes), a Ford in China would be more expensive than a BMW in the USA!!

I fully support the chinese car companies desire to export their products to the rest of the world (with the USA being a prime location), but the doors of trade MUST open both ways and be equal for all. I know that the cost of chinese import taxes has dropped significantly as a result of China being a member of the WTO, but it is still higher than the cost of import taxes for chinese products being imported into the USA. Yes, one can say that this was done to "protect" the chinese economy as it developed into a open market system (due to differences in labor costs) - but I think that it's time to re-evaluate that position. China needs to open it's trade doors completely and with very little restriction..........I think that this will make quality control a higher priority and will result in a higher quality product that is sold by chinese companies. Who ends up benefitting from all of this? The consumer - better quality, better products and more satisfaction - at a reasonable price.
 

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the fact that all foreign automakers are partnered w/local companies is a requirement under chinese regulations, isn't it? it's the principle of-if you want to sell in china, you must produce in china, a basic principle set in the late 1990's. the logic being that the local partner benefits from the eventual technology transfer. part of this arrangement also allows the local partner to produce & sell, under its own brand any outdated design from its foreign partner, thereby giving the local partner a presence in the local market separate & distinct from its foreign partner. someone in the CAMA explained this to me years back. can you confirm this, jmsteiny?
 

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hazik said:
If the US don't want Chinese cars in the US. China should just throw GM out and let GM die.
If Chinese cars were of the same quality as GM cars, there would not be an issue. Nobody is keeping Chinese cars out of the USA, with the exception of Chinese auto manufacturers.

If they introduce a safe, reliable, attractive, well priced vehicle, people will be lined up at the doors to buy them. China Auto Manufacturers currently have no such cars.
 

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American auto makers have a tough time exporting autos to china as most models do not meet or exceed china's emissions requirements.
Most american models polute so heavily and waste so much fuel, that export to other nations is impossible.
Source of information: "An inconvient truth" movie by Al Gore, former vice prez of USA turned enviromentalist.
 

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US has no excuse to not allow Chinese cars to enter the US market.
All US states are moving to Tier II Bin 4(aka California Emission) emission standard in 2008, and the infamous California emission(California, New York, and three other states) gets even tougher. Basically, what the CARB wants are cars whose exhaust emissions are cleaner than the intake air, unthinkable to the Chinese.

Take note, even Audi and Mercedes flunked this California emission once. Euro4 is a joke next to the California emission.

OK, let's look at a few facts here..............first, let's keep in mind that ALL foreign car companies (american, german, japanese, etc...) are PARTNERSHIPS with a chinese company - and under chinese law the foreign company CANNOT have a majority ownership in the company.
This is the reason why global giants are not seriously considering exporting from China seriously, and India is displacing China as the low-cost auto-manufacturing hub in the region.

Second, not ALL american "companies" (i.e. brands) are here. The "big three" are here (GM, Ford and Chrysler) but NOT all of their subsidaries. In other words, Ford does not sell Lincoln or Mercury in China, GM does not sell Pontiac and Chrysler does not sell Dodge.

I fully support the chinese car companies desire to export their products to the rest of the world (with the USA being a prime location), but the doors of trade MUST open both ways and be equal for all. I know that the cost of chinese import taxes has dropped significantly as a result of China being a member of the WTO, but it is still higher than the cost of import taxes for chinese products being imported into the USA. Yes, one can say that this was done to "protect" the chinese economy as it developed into a open market system (due to differences in labor costs) - but I think that it's time to re-evaluate that position. China needs to open it's trade doors completely and with very little restriction..........I think that this will make quality control a higher priority and will result in a higher quality product that is sold by chinese companies. Who ends up benefitting from all of this? The consumer - better quality, better products and more satisfaction - at a reasonable price.
You say the right words for the first time.
 
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