GM to electrify and localise its China business
General Motors is struggling with declining market shares in China and therefore wants to focus on electric mobility and autonomous driving in the future. The Americans plan to invest more than 20 billion dollars globally in these two areas by 2025.
To make the transition, GM intends for over 40 per cent of the new vehicle launches in China in the next five years to be electrified models and produced locally. To this end, GM is relying on its new e-platform and the Ultium battery system presented in March.
GM considers the latter as a unique opportunity in the industry primarily because of the possible formats: the large-format pouch cells can be arranged vertically or horizontally in the battery pack. The capacities of the battery packs have a range between 50 and 200 kWh, which should allow ranges of 400 miles (644 km) and more. Besides, the electric motors developed by GM will be used in the new platform for the front, rear and four-wheel drive layouts.
Both platform and battery can be rolled-out across brands. In China, Cadillac is to play a crucial role. Cadillac is reportedly set to become GM’s leading electric brand and is now expecting to lead the way in electrifying the model range and integrating connectivity and autonomous driving functions in China as well. The reasoning is that GM considers Chinese consumers “very embracing of technology,” GM’s new China boss Julian Blissett told Reuters.
Also, General Motors intends to transform the Chinese brand Wuling, which the Group has built up together with its local partner SAIC, into a manufacturer of affordable e-vans (so-called people movers). Already the JV is offering a purely-electric ultra-small and low price electric car called the Hong Guang Mini EV. GM is also active in the electrified space in China with is Buick brand as reported.
Blissett confirmed the approach when he told Reuters that there are plans to launch both cheap electric cars and larger, more environmentally friendly SUVs. General Motors hopes that the new strategy will allow it to expand its market share in China, which has shrunk over the past few years.