GM could lose market share in China if it fails to accelerate its transition to EVs, a recent study from Greenpeace suggests, with Chinese automakers standing to make significant gains as foreign companies continue to move slowly with their electrification efforts.
The “era of gas and diesel vehicles is coming to an end, and EV sales are surging” according to the report from Greenpeace East Asia.
The study claims GM is currently following a strategy that will result in it losing three to six percentage points of market share in China by 2030. The predicted loss is relative to its average market share between 2019 and 2021. Greenpeace says it used Monte Carlo simulation methods and scenario analysis to derive this and other predictions.
The study also claims that China’s rapid switch to EVs will leave those foreign automakers slowest to electrify with “stranded” ICE vehicle production capacity. The study named GM as the company with the most exposure to this risk, with approximately 1.78 million units’ worth of internal combustion engine production capacity likely to be left idled by China’s EV transition.
Looking to the larger picture, the study predicts about 33 percent of all ICE production capacity in China will be unused by 2030. It predicts Volkswagen will be the second biggest loser behind GM as a result of electrification, with 1.42 million units worth of idle ICE capacity and a similar three to seven percent drop in market share.
Bao Hang, a Greenpeace campaigner, summed up the organization’s conclusions by stating, “industry leaders like Toyota and Volkswagen must speed up their transition to new energy vehicles or risk ceding business to all-electric brands like BYD. Rapid electrification is necessary to stay relevant in China’s auto market.’
When it comes to GM electric vehicles sold in the Chinese market, Chevy currently sells a single EV, the Chevy Menlo crossover, in China. Buick’s electric lineup consists of three models, the Velite 6 PHEV, Velite 6 EV and the new Electra E5, though a fourth, the Electra E4, will be released later this month. Cadillac sells the Cadillac Lyriq.
Turning to the EV models produced by GM’s SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture, Baojun currently sells the KiWi EV and the new Yep crossover, and will soon launch the Yep mini pickup. Wuling has four electric models in production, including the Hong Guang MINI EV, the Nano EV, the Air EV, and the Bingo (or Bin Guo) hatchback.
Some of GM’s individual electric models have been enthusiastically received in China, with 8,000 orders placed for the Buick Electra E5 in the first ten days after online ordering opened, setting a new record. However, GM’s overall sales in China plunged by 25 percent in Q1 2023.