Of course, Americans will be quick to bash the move and say, "Sure, we bail these guys out and they run off to China to develop electric vehicles." That argument sounds good on the surface, but makes no business sense. GM has not taken any loans from the Department of Energy for developing electric cars, so it's not obligated to make Detroit the "home room" for EV development. Also, GM says it is not sharing Volt technology with the Chinese, that program and technology remain in Detroit. Finally, GM should go to the most aggressive EV market to set up its electric vehicles operations.
When I talked with GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky in Shanghai about the deal, he summed up the move by saying, "China is, in my opinion on the leading edge of this. They really have an electrification policy. They're going to put a lot of infrastructure in place. They're throwing a lot of money at it, and they're encouraging, basically, EV's to come into this market."
This does not mean GM will build electric cars in China and export them to the US in large numbers. It plans to build in the markets where it sell electric and plug-in electric cars.
But make no mistake, as we've said for some time, the future road of electric cars rolls through China. GM is wise to set up a shop on that road.
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