News Column

GM Defends China Investments as Sales Rise

May 7, 2013
GM

General Motors' sales in China rose 15% in April from a year earlier, but the automaker rebutted a Wall Street Journal opinion column that accused it of using U.S. taxpayers' money to support operations in China.

GM and its joint venture partners sold 261,870 vehicles last month in China in April, about 10% more than the 237,646 it sold in the U.S.

Last week, a Wall Street Journal op-ed column by Edward Niedermeyer criticized GM for investing $11 billion in China by 2016 despite getting bailed out by the U.S. government in 2009. Under the headline "Welcome to General Tso's Motors," Niedermeyer said China "is disproportionately benefiting" from the 2009 government-backed bankruptcy restructuring of GM.

In a letter to the Journal's editors published Monday, Selim Bingol, GM vice president for corporate communications, wrote that any investment in China is funded from sales in the world's largest car market.

Bingol said GM plans to invest $16 billion in its U.S. operations by 2016. He wrote that "speculation over the possible loss of GM jobs or technology to China is simple fear-mongering, offered without evidence because it doesn't exist."

Independent analysts say GM's position in China is critical to its global profits.

In April, sales of the Shanghai-GM joint venture rose 29% to 121,559 units, while sales of its SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture were up 6% to 134,815.

Buick enjoyed a 24% increase, while Chevrolet posted a 22% gain to 50,559. Cadillac sales nearly doubled from a year earlier to 4,077 cars. GM wants to triple Cadillac's annual sales in China to 100,000 vehicles by 2015.

Separately, the U.S. Treasury Department said Monday it would continue selling GM shares. The government owned about 16% of GM at the end of March, and intends to divest fully by a year from now.

Treasury has recovered about $30.4 billion from the $49.5 billion in emergency aid it provided GM. By the time all government shares are sold, taxpayers can expect a loss of more than $10 billion, barring an unexpected surge in GM's stock price.



Source: (c)2013 Detroit Free Press. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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