General Motors Corp. plans to sell cars in the U.S. that it makes in China, starting in 2011, which could make GM the first major automaker to import Chinese cars to the U.S. market.
The car maker expects to sell about 17,335 of the China-made vehicles in the U.S. in 2011, and triple that number to 51,546 in 2014, a planning document circulated by GM among U.S. lawmakers shows. The gains would come, the 12-page document says, as GM's total U.S. sales surge 50% in the next five years. Even at the higher 2014 level, though, cars from China would still account for only 1.6% of GM's 3.1 million total expected sales in the U.S. that year.
The plans are subject to change pending the outcome of negotiations with United Auto Workers (UAW).
Many of these vehicles are likely to be small cars similar to the upcoming Chevy Spark, which will be built in South Korea, though the models will be different from any currently built in the U.S. by any automaker, an industry official said in an interview with Automotive News.
The automaker is trying to meet a government-imposed June 1 deadline to restructure operations and cut over $40 billion in debt, or risk bankruptcy. The UAW has criticized GM's restructuring plan because of increases envisioned by the plan in U.S. sales of cars made overseas.
"We are in dialogue with the UAW, and my view of a dialogue is that it is a good idea to have an open book on all the different subjects," said GM CEO Fritz Henderson. "We have a philosophy of building where we sell, and not only do we think that is the right thing to do, but the most profitable thing to do historically."
UAW officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment. But in a May 5 letter to senators, the UAW criticized GM plans to increase U.S. sales from other countries.
"GM should not be taking taxpayers' money simply to finance the outsourcing of jobs to other countries," the letter from UAW legislative director Alan Reuther said.
--by Neil Roland, a reporter for Automotive News, a publication of Crain Communications
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"The overall results are extremely interesting and reflect brand popularity with Hong Kong consumers. Some very big brand names in Hong Kong which one might have expected to appear in the Superbrands top 10 did not make it onto this year's list, while some brands made a surprising entry directly into the top-tier," said Mark Pointer, Superbrands CEO in Hong Kong.
It marks the very first time a Bruce Lee title has been released in the high definition Blu-ray format. Four Bruce Lee titles, including "The Big Boss," "The Way of the Dragon," "Enter the Dragon" and "Fist of Fury," have been licensed and will be available to consumers in June. Other titles to be distributed by Kam & Ronson on Blu-ray include Jackie Chan's "Police Story 1, 2 and 3," as well as Jet Li's "Once Upon a Time 1, 2 and 3."
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