General Motors

GM emphasises US investment after criticism of spending in China

Carmaker responds to attack on US$11b outlay in China by pointing to US$16b spending at home

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 07 May, 2013, 3:56am

General Motors, profitable for 13 consecutive quarters, is planning to invest US$16 billion on factories and facilities in the United States from now to 2016, more than it will spend in China, the company said.

"The US$11 billion in capital that will be spent in China by 2016 is coming out of our joint ventures rather than Detroit and is far less than the approximately $16 billion in capital GM will invest in the US over that time," Selim Bingol, GM's vice-president of public policy, said in a letter published in the Wall Street Journal.

GM disclosed the US investment figure after announcing the US$11 billion investment for its joint ventures on the mainland last month in Shanghai. That was a 70 per cent increase from the plan outlined in 2011 to spend US$7 billion through until 2015. GM sold 2.84 million vehicles last year through its joint ventures on the mainland, its biggest market, and wants to boost that to 5 million by 2015.

The Journal last week ran a commentary on its op-ed page titled, "Welcome to General Tso's Motors," saying China "is disproportionately benefiting" from the US governmen-backed bankruptcy reorganization of GM in 2009 . The Journal's editorial page had previously criticised the bailout.

Bingol said in the letter that GM "was in China long before the economic meltdown of 2008-2009, and not one dollar of US taxpayer rescue money was spent on our operations there. Our Chinese joint ventures are self-funding, meaning we require funds spent there to be generated there."

GM is introducing 20 new or refreshed vehicles in the US, part of a plan to increase profits and rebound from last year's 88-year-low in US market share.

GM has said it invested US$8.5 billion in the United States since emerging from bankruptcy, including efforts to prepare for production for more fuel-efficient engines and vehicles.

The company reported on May 2 that first-quarter net income fell 11 per cent year-on-year to US$1.18 billion. Profit in international operations, which include China, slipped to US$495 million from US$521 million.