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GM puts its faith in nation with commitment to joint venture

By LI FUSHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2023-07-03 09:38

Julian Blissett, executive vice-president of GM and president of GM China. [Provided to China Daily]

General Motors is confident of China's vehicle market and will not change its investment strategy, said a senior executive of the largest carmaker in the United States.

Julian Blissett, executive vice-president of GM and president of GM China, reaffirmed the company's commitment to the world's largest vehicle market in an interview last week.

"We have every intention of increasing investment and increasing our commitment here in China," he said.

He cited CEO Mary Barra's meeting with local officials in Shanghai in May. Barra outlined GM's vision of development and reiterated her confidence in the company's business in China.

Blissett said the partnership between GM and SAIC Motor is an exemplar in the automotive industry and the two will continue close cooperation. The two companies will renew their contract in 2027.

The Chinese market is a lot different from what it was a decade ago and every carmaker is faced with challenges, said Blissett.

He added that good judgment, innovation and being coolheaded are required to gain a footing and realize sustainable development in the challenging environment.

China's vehicle market is becoming increasingly fierce, especially in the segment of electrification and smart driving. This is due to the continual launch of new models from primarily Chinese carmakers, touting new features at affordable prices.

GM is proceeding at pace. Its joint venture SAIC-GM launched the Buick Electra E5 SUV and E4 crossover built on the Ultium platform. New models from another joint venture, SAIC-GM-Wuling, are winning customers as well.

Of them, the Bin Guo, which is the joint venture's electric vehicle based on the locally developed Global Small Electric Vehicle platform introduced in 2017, has seen its deliveries exceed 10,000 units for two months in a row.

Blissett said GM is introducing smart features into its gasoline vehicles as well, such as three newly launched Cadillac models equipped with the Super Cruise system.

He added that Chevrolet will launch both new energy vehicles and gasoline vehicles for the Chinese market.

In terms of NEVs, the Equinox EV and the Blazer EV that have been unveiled in North America offer a glimpse of what it will offer in China, said Blissett.

GM has been tailoring models for the Chinese market based on its understanding of local tech-savvy customers.

Blissett said EVs in the Chinese market are highly homogeneous but the customers want different products. He explained that is why GM has been increasing investment in its design team and facilities.

He said engineers at the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center were deeply involved in engineering, software and smart cabin functions of Buick's Electra E5 and E4.

The Shanghai-based Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center is a design and engineering facility co-built by GM and SAIC Motor.

GM also has an advanced design center in China. It aims to foster customer-centered thinking and deliver technology-empowered solutions for future mobility.

As one of GM's four advanced design centers worldwide, the Shanghai-based studio serves as a leading tastemaker for the company's future products, it said.

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