Amidst all the fury surrounding the UAW strike today, General Motors released a statement announcing an $800 million deal with its Chinese joint-venture company to supply the Chinese market with U.S.-built vehicles and components. It's the second such agreement GM has signed, the first being an agreement worth $700 million to supply Cadillacs and components to China signed back in May. The new agreement focuses mainly on the Buick Enclave CUV, which is built at GM's Lansing Delta Township assembly plant. One can't help but question the timing of this announcement as GM and UAW negotiators are back at the table this afternoon to discuss job security for the union's 73,000 members. There's little doubt now that UAW employees at the Lansing plant will be busy in the months ahead not only trying to meet demand for the Enclave in the U.S., but also producing the vehicle for export to China. We'll see as the day goes on if this agreement has any effect on negotiations, but there are a total of 59 plants operated by GM that use UAW workers. Securing work for just one of them probably isn't going to be enough.
GM Signs Agreement For More Than $800 Million To Export U.S.-Built Vehicles And Components To China
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 24, 2007) - General Motors Corp. and its Shanghai General Motors joint venture today signed a multi-year agreement worth more than $800 million to export U.S.-built Buick Enclave premium crossover sport utility vehicles along with other vehicles and components to China beginning in 2008.
The agreement was signed in the presence of China's Assistant Vice Minister of Commerce Chen Jian, Chinese Embassy officials, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce Israel Hernandez, GM Vice President of Global Sales, Service and Marketing Operations John Middlebrook, and Shanghai GM Executive Vice President Robert Socia.
The all-new Buick Enclave is built at GM's Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan. Enclave is one of GM's most sought-after vehicles in North America because of its stylish, modern design and high level of standard features. Introduced earlier this year, the Enclave has received enthusiastic reviews and has helped lead General Motors' recent sales increase in its home market.
According to Shanghai GM President Ding Lei, "Shanghai GM has become a leader in the production and sale of passenger cars in China, driven largely by the success of the Buick brand. These new Buick premium sport utility vehicles will strengthen our lineup and enable us to continue to meet the changing needs of our growing base of customers."
The Buick agreement is the second of two China export agreements signed by GM this year. In May, GM signed a deal to export $700 million worth of Cadillacs and automotive components to China from the United States. GM's China operations have already imported about $3.5 billion worth of vehicles, components, equipment, and machinery from North America over the past 10 years.
GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale said, "We appreciate the support that we received from the Chinese and U.S. governments for this program, which will benefit both countries. It will take the value of GM sourcing contracts from the United States for the China market to more than $1.5 billion this year."
Assistant Vice Minister of Commerce Chen Jian added, "The efforts of General Motors and its Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. Group (SAIC), to promote healthy and stable Sino-U.S. trade relations is very much appreciated. The Chinese government will continue to work with the U.S. government and enterprises to create a better market environment, ensure a smooth channel for U.S. companies' business development and actively promote American exports to China for more balanced trade."
Enclave will be imported by Shanghai GM and sold through its network of nearly 400 Buick dealerships across China. The new model will complement the rest of Shanghai GM's popular Buick lineup, which includes the Park Avenue and LaCrosse premium sedans, Regal upper-medium sedan, Excelle family, and GL8 and FirstLand executive wagons.
GM operates seven joint ventures and two wholly owned foreign enterprises and has more than 20,000 employees in China. GM, along with its joint ventures, offers the broadest lineup of vehicles and brands among automakers in China.
Products are sold under the Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, Opel, Saab and Wuling nameplates. In 2006, sales of vehicles by GM and its joint ventures rose 31.8 percent on an annual basis to a record 876,747 units.