Manufacturing News

GM targets China for most of its future EV sales

General Motors’ China unit will market a "substantial portion" of the automaker's future electric vehicles, GM China President Matt Tsien said on Wednesday.

In a briefing at GM headquarters in Detroit, Tsien said, "China is at the heart of our electrification strategy."

Tsien did not say which GM brands would sell EVs in China.

But Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen told Reuters at the Detroit auto show that the luxury brand "will play a central role" in GM's electrification strategy in China.

Cadillac will be "the technology spearhead for General Motors," de Nysschen said, adding the brand will be "at the forefront" of rolling out new EVs in the United States and China.

The broader electrification strategy, detailed in November by CEO Mary Barra, includes the introduction in 2021 of a new dedicated EV architecture and an advanced battery system.

Those building blocks will support development of 20 new models in the United States and China.

The automaker has promised investors it will produce profitable EVs by 2021 and that the 20 new battery-electric and fuel-cell vehicles will join its global lineup by 2023.

Barra said GM aims to sell 1 million EVs worldwide by 2026.

Cadillac's de Nysschen said the new EV architecture "will feature prominently" in U.S. and Chinese plans.

GM has a long way to go to reach Barra's lofty target.

Last year, GM China and local partners sold 4 million vehicles -- about 40 percent of the automaker's global tally. But only 11,000 were EVs, sold under GM's local Baojun brand.

The automaker sold 50,000 EVs worldwide in 2017, most of them the Chevrolet Bolt EV, or roughly 0.5 percent of its global sales.

Tsien said all-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, are expected to account for 20 percent of the industry's projected 35 million vehicle sales in China in 2025.

Next year, a new Chinese quota system will require that 8 percent of an automaker's sales be all-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Tsien said GM expects to meet that quota, which would require selling more than 300,000 EVs and plug-in hybrids in 2019 or purchasing credits from other manufacturers.

The automaker's new EV will support models for "multiple brands in multiple segments," Tsien said, and the flexible battery system will enable GM to offer a variety of driving ranges in those models.

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