GM is driving American technology to tomorrow via China
It all looks so cordial. General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) partially owned by the American taxpayers and China working together for the betterment of mankind’s propulsion systems for automobiles, even opening the first phase of the GM China Advanced Technical Center.
Even Dan Ackerson is playing the game like any CEO would. “Technology and innovative ideas are at our very core,” said GM Chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “No other company has had the years of experience bringing the latest vehicles, technologies and manufacturing processes to China that GM has.”
Said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group: “Over the past year, we have made progress on electrification, connectivity and design. The opening of the GM China Advanced Technical Center is an important step forward in helping us carry out our work in these and other critical areas of our business.”
Well, that’s above the surface. Below it, it’s another story.
GM China recently hosted the "Driving Technology to Tomorrow" event in conjunction with the opening of that first phase of the GM China Advanced Technical Center. Senior GM executives introduced the automaker’s global industry leadership in technology and the key role China plays.
What was missing, though, was the way China pressured GM into revealing its electrification secrets just in order to play ball, so to speak, in China’s market. Good move for China, if they can get away with it; and they are, once again.
It’s tough to totally blame General Motors (NYSE: GM) as it needs China’s auto market for growth and future profits. Problem is, that is coming at a price that one day GM may hang its head in shame or at least in wonder.
This writer has long believed and written that China will one day say to GM, “Thank you, but we’ll take it from here.” By that I mean China will have all that it needs to build and export automobiles to the rest of the world; and we, American industrialists that we are, gave it all to them with little in return except shakenhands, smiling faces and access to the Chinese market which will likely be curtailed as the nation matures with OUR technology.
Leading in Product Development
According to Mary Barra, GM senior vice president, Global Product Development, “Everywhere we do business, we’re focused on delivering the best vehicles with the right technology and with industry-leading quality. Our team in China is an important and growing part of that effort.”
GM is exploring mass reduction and the use of advanced materials. It is working with Shanghai Jiao Tong University through the Advanced Manufacturing Processes Collaborative Research Lab. GM is also working to improve fuel efficiency by continuing to improve the internal combustion engine. It has made China a center of expertise for supercharging and turbocharging technologies.
Wait, stop the presses! Read that again. China is becoming a center of expertise for supercharging and turbocharging technologies?
That’s not all either. GM is exploring vehicle technology in other areas such as infotainment with innovations such as the OnStar telematics system, vehicle navigation systems, “connected” radios and improved Bluetooth wireless capability. Barra announced that GM will introduce its next-generation infotainment system in China with a system for each vehicle brand starting in the next couple of years.