“Our goal isn’t to survive another ten years and keep winnowing down,” General Motors Chairman Rick Wagoner told TheCarConnection.com at an appearance at the Shanghai Motor Show, on Friday.
The CEO of the world’s largest automaker said his top priority remains fixing GM’s troubled North American core, reversing steady declines in sales, market share, and profits that have indeed forced the company to steadily whittle back both aspirations and production capacity.
following the preview of a new Chinese concept car, the Buick Riviera, Wagoner
also made it clear that growth outside
“We’re not going to sacrifice tomorrow for today,” Wagoner said, during an interview with TheCarConnection.com and several other reporters.
Recognizing GM can no longer
support so many independent marques, the company has been consolidating some weaker brands into
new distribution groups. In the case of Buick, it is being paired with the
equally-troubled Pontiac and the stronger, truck-focused GMC division. By
reducing duplication of products, Buick now has only three models in the
It’s a very different story in
That doesn’t mean Buick will fade
away in the States, Wagoner asserted, adding that, “Doing well in
Wagoner acknowledged that GM was, to
some degree, lucky landing a joint venture, a decade ago with Shanghai
Automotive Industry Corp., or SAIC, with which it today produces a variety of
brands and models in China. The successful partnership helped GM rack up sales
of 289,000 vehicles in
“By the day it’s more important” to GM, said Wagoner.
The executive said that even as
“That sounds pretty good to me, and
we’d like to participate,” said Wagoner. In 2002, the government nudged GM and
SAIC into taking over a struggling player based in the southern city of
But GM isn’t the only one with big ambitions. Indeed, at this year’s Shanghai Motor Show, SAIC made some big news of its own. The Chinese company opened the event’s day-long press preview with the debut of its Roewe W2 Concept. Also on display was an updated version of the Rover 75, designs of which SAIC acquired in 2005 from the bankrupt British carmaker. The next stand over featured new products from Ssangyong, a South Korean marque that SAIC also acquired out of bankruptcy.
According to SAIC Chairman Hu Maoyan, the Shanghai-based firm is intent on becoming a significant player in the booming Chinese market on its own, as well as in partnership with Western firms like Volkswagen and General Motors.
For his part, GM’s
Wagoner insisted he is not worried about this strange bedfellows relationship. The
joint-venture partnership with SAIC, he asserted, “has paid off for us very well,” and
even with SAIC fielding its own fleet of products, GM sees little but
upside potential. With its share now over ten percent in
Such growth in
If there are any serious issues that
concern GM about
Wagoner said that before coming to
“I suspect, over time, (the issue)
is going to diminish,” suggested Wagoner. “As more (intellectual property) is
2007 Buick Riviera Concept by TCC Team (4/19/2007)
GM Plugs Fuel Cells into Volt by TCC Team (4/19/2007)
Buick Adding Hybrid – In China by TCC Team (4/17/2007)
New LaCrosse greens up brand image.
GM Unfazed by Chinese Partner’s
Plans by Joseph Szczesny (11/27/2006)
GM not worried that SAIC will compete directly.
Roewe Takes on China – and
VW by TCC Team (4/21/2007)
SAIC steers Rover leftovers upscale in