Further word from our man in Detroit about General Motors’ ambitions in China and its relationship with its joint venture partner, SAIC Motors. It is already planning to expand its dealerships in the country. Now it is hedging its bet on its international partnership with SAIC.
When that partnership was struck in 2010, it was talked up as a global one by which both companies could expand into emerging markets, though, it should be said, GM has always had internal reservations about extending what was a necessity in China in to a worldwide relationship. Nonetheless, GM dealers in some Latin America countries have been selling (a few) SAIC’s Wuling micro vans, for example, and Chinese-made Chevy Sails were exported to India and South America, and some models are being locally produced in a GM plant there.
GM is now thinking more in terms of region-specific partners. In particular, it would work with PSA Peugeot Citroen in eastern Europe and Latin America, and SAIC just in Asian markets outside China.
SAIC and GM are discussing a manufacturing and sales joint venture in Indonesia we are told, with the intention of attacking Toyota’s 60% market share there. Yet that follows SAIC scaling back its participation in the two carmakers’ spluttering joint venture in India, and its choice of a local conglomerate, CP Group, in preference to GM as a partner in Thailand. Executives from both GM and SAIC have been quoted as describing the relationship between their companies as a marriage. It is looking increasingly like an open one.