Bloomberg reports that Dongfeng Motor has heard from General Motors about buying assets the beleaguered U.S. automaker wants to sell. GM has started shopping its Hummer business. Saab and Saturn are also candidates to be sold.
This Bystander understands that GM talked to a couple of Chinese car companies during its first round of pitches for Hummer to potential buyers around the world, but that both were as lukewarm about buying it as everyone else. So while Dongfeng, like Shanghai Automotive Industries, has expressed interest in buying foreign marques, don’ t expect either of them to be on the short list for a second round of discussions about Hummer.
Another reason that Chinese investors are wary now of venturing abroad was summed up by Lou Jiwei, chairman of China Investment Corp. “I don’t dare to invest in financial institutions now,” he told an conference in Hong Kong. His two investments in U.S. bank Morgan Stanley and New York private equity group Blackstone have lost $6 billion. The two firms’ share prices are down 75% since he bought the stakes. That, though, is less than GM is seeking in bailout funds from the U.S. Congress.
China, by the way, is one of the brightest markets for GM, where Buick is a star performer, popular with top officials and not a staid brand driven by the silver haired set. Last year GM sold almost twice as many Buicks in China as it did in the U.S., 332,000 vs 186,000.