China is important to GM, as the Asian country was General Motors’ second-largest market during Q1 2023, behind only the U.S. market. With this in mind, Shanghai has asked the Detroit-based automaker to boost investments in the city.
According to a report from Reuters, Shanghai – China’s most populous city – would like The General to increase investments, research and development in the city. In fact, officials are looking for GM to bring more high-end products and cutting-edge technologies to the sixth-annual China International Import Expo later this year.
This announcement comes as GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra recently visited Shanghai – her first visit since the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the globe. As the world’s largest automobile market, China is of great interest to GM, where the automaker’s sales through its SAIC-GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling joint ventures have fallen drastically from 2022 figures. In fact, sales have decreased nearly 25 percent from 613,400 units in Q1 2022 to 464,200 units in Q1 2023.
For comparison, GM U.S. sales rose almost 18 percent to 603,208 units in Q1 2023 from 512,832 units in Q1 2022.
In other recent GM China news, the Detroit-based automaker recently appointed Zhuang Jingxiong as the new President of SAIC-GM. As General Motors’ primary Chinese joint venture – which manages the Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet brands – the SAIC-GM venture is responsible for GM’s primary Chinese operations. Jingxiong succeeds Wang Yongqing as President.
Zhuang Jingxiong has been a part of SAIC-GM since 1996, where he played a role in establishing the alliance between General Motors and state-owned SAIC Motor. After a brief hiatus of serving as SAIC Motor Deputy Director and Director of the President’s Office in 2019, Jingxiong returned to SAIC-GM in November 2022.
As previously mentioned, Jingxiong has been handed the reins to the joint venture during a period of decreased sales in the region. As such, this recent appointment is seen as an effort to bolster flagging Chinese sales, as SAIC-GM rapidly accelerates toward producing all-electric vehicles with GM’s Ultium battery and Ultium Drive global powertrain technology.