General Motors Co. chief executive Dan Akerson remarked in an interview that the carmaker is reconsidering its emerging-market strategy. Such move could prove to be a roadblock for the international ambitions of SAIC Motor Corp., GM’s Chinese partner. Notably, GM’s top honchos have been indicating for around three years that SAIC would be its preferred partner to expand into emerging markets around the world.
For the past months, however, GM has been considering to forge a partnership with French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, not only in Europe, but also in Russia and Latin America. Akerson said during the interview that the priority obligation of GM and PSA to one another is to fix their operations in Europe.
He, however, added that there is real potential that the carmakers could cooperate in other areas. Akerson quipped that their current partnership does not preclude them from forming another relationship in other parts of the world, noting that the French carmaker lacked scale in Latin America and they could "we could help one another" there.
As for the possibility that SAIC would become GM's sole global partner, Akerson remarked that it is a work in progress. Auto consultant Michael Dunne said that Akerson’s comments are the clearest sign yet that GM is avoiding having to commit to SAIC as it builds its strategy for emerging markets, which offer the fastest sales growth and account for over half of the 81 million vehicles bought around the world each year.
SAIC is determined to become a major brand in the world, using its ability to produce vehicles for as low as $4,500 as a platform to take on emerging markets in Asia and beyond. SAIC, which builds no-frills cars in joint ventures with GM, also produces joint venture brands in China with Volkswagen as well as own brands like Roewe.