Manufacturing News

GM confirms it won't share Volt technology in China, newspaper reports

General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson said he won't share the Chevrolet Volt's technology with GM's Chinese partner -- even if the Volt fails to qualify for hefty sales subsidies, The Wall Street Journal reported.

In an interview with the Journal, Akerson confirmed an earlier report by The New York Timesthat said GM did not want to share the Volt's key technology with its partner, SAIC Motor Corp.

"There are technology risks, there are relationship risks, there are business risks," Akerson told the Journal. "I am sure China will do what's best for China. But you ignore China at your own risk."

Last year, China's central government announced plans to offer sales subsidies for EVs and plug-ins in five key cities. Makers of plug-ins would receive up to 50,000 yuan ($7,800), while EVs would get up to 60,000 yuan. Several cities also have introduced local subsidies.

It appears that the U.S.-built Volt won't qualify for those sweeteners. The central government has urged foreign automakers to share key EV technology -- including batteries, motors and electronics -- with their Chinese partners.

So far, there are no written rules stating that imports do not qualify for the subsidies, and GM spokeswoman Dana Hart told Automotive News China earlier this month that the government is not pressuring the company to share technology.

But among automakers, it is generally understood that the vehicles have to be locally built to get the subsidies. Beijing may formalize its previously unofficial stance on technology sharing later this month, The Times said.

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