• Jan 6, 2009
One of the refrains we've all heard in recent years is how strong Buick is for General Motors in China, where it's not cursed with the stigma of being a grandparent's brand in the States. While most of yesterday's attention was rightly focused on the industry-wide year-end U.S. sales bloodbath, Shanghai Daily reports that 2008 was a bummer for GM's joint venture with SAIC in China.

Shanghai GM ended up down 7% versus 2007, with analysts saying that its new cars, like the freshly-updated Buick Excelle, didn't deliver the goods in terms of styling, price, or fuel economy. Hence, buyers reportedly turned to the VW Jetta and Toyota Corolla instead. Shanghai Daily points out that Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Saab all showed growth in China last year, so the overall Shanghai GM decline essentially gets laid at the feet of Buick. Now, it'll be interesting to see how 2009 plays out. GM is hoping that the Chevy Cruze can help get things back on track in the People's Republic (and everyplace else, for that matter) when it arrives sometime in Q2, joining other key Shanghai GM newcomers like the Buick Regal.

Shanghai GM's disappointing 2008 performance was part of a broader growth slowdown for the General in China. When factoring in the rest of its joint ventures, GM's China sales were actually up 6 in '07, and at least 27% in the each of the four years prior to that, according to Bloomberg. With so many consecutive years of explosive sales growth, things were probably bound to level off as car shoppers transformed into car owners. Whether GM's influx of new models planned for this year and beyond stokes the sales fires in China again is a story that we'll follow throughout '09.



[Sources: Shanghai Daily, Bloomberg]


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  • 13 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the Excelle looks pretty good, especially when compared to GM's small cars sold here in the U.S., such as the Chevy Cobalt.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's the problem, the Excelle looks too good for the Chinese. It has to be boring and outdated looking to be become a success. China and modern don't match.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Leave it to GM to destroy anything good. TWO THIRDS of the Buick models in China are either cheap looking rebadged Daewoos, old GMAC trucks or Chevy Lovas.

      And now of course under Obama's campaign theme "Change You Can Shove Up Your Ass" we the taxpayers have heavily invested in this, the longest running sob story in corporate history.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Actually I'm a no winger at all...but it's hard to figure which is more offensive....Obama's status quo team supporting Bush's bailout....or GMs kiss of death to anything they touch, including Saab, Fiat, GMAC and now Shanghai Buick
      • 6 Years Ago
      another step towards bankruptcy. Bad times. O well there goes the loans...
        • 6 Years Ago
        'Shanghai Daily points out that Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Saab all showed growth in China last year,'
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yuck! The body style resembles a Kia, and the interior resembles the impala...
        • 6 Years Ago
        A quick check of your comment history reveals just how f*cking stupid you really are.
      • 6 Years Ago
      A painful year to Automaker!
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