The global auto industry is changing rapidly and General Motors will do its best to please every corner of the globe with a particular strategy. Such a split in policy and regulation, especially between the United States and China, could make for two very different GMs on opposite sides of the globe.
Reuters touched on the point in a report published on Tuesday, which iterated the possibility that China could lead GM’s global business for electric cars, mobility and self-driving vehicles, while North America and the United States sit back as a traditional business case for pickups, SUVs and gasoline-powered cars.
Right now, that outlook seems pretty clear. China will require battery-electric and plug-in hybrids to represent 10 percent of cars sold in the country beginning in 2019. That figure will climb in the years following its implementation. It marks a challenge for GM: even if consumers aren’t ready for electric cars, they’re needed to meet future regulations.
In the U.S., that’s hardly the case. Electric-vehicle infrastructure lags behind other countries and large utility vehicles with gasoline-powered engines flood the sales charts. Without regulations, the U.S. could be a very different market from China.
That is, unless China sparked global change. GM could simply move to introduce its electrification strategy in the U.S. and noting the automaker’s earlier announcement of 20 new EVs by 2023, that seems just as likely.
We won’t know until we get there, but things can certainly change between now and then. California has introduced legislation to ban cars powered by internal-combustion engines by 2040, for example. What does seem clear is the tale of two GMs is only beginning.