General Motors has found itself on the wrong side of the Chinese government, having been found guilty of “monopolistic” pricing.
According to , the government accused the American automaker and its partner SAIC Motor Corp Ltd. of setting minimum pricing on vehicles sold under the Cadillac, Chevrolet and Buick badges and slapped the joint venture with a fine of 201 million yuan (approximately $29 million).
The company said in an emailed statement:
“GM fully respects local laws and regulations wherever we operate. We will provide full support to our joint venture in China to ensure that all responsive and appropriate actions are taken with respect to this matter.”
It has been speculated that Chinese government officials fined GM in retaliation to President-Elect Donald Trump selecting a trade adviser with a long history of speaking out against America’s dealings with China.
Sources who spoke with Reuters claim the investigation was underway long before the U.S. elections. However, we find it a bit suspicious that it took until now for the government to penalize such blatant market manipulation.
Move Aside U.S., China is Now Cadillac’s Largest Market
Well, that was quick… Just days after we reported that China will eventually overtake the United States as Cadillac’s largest market, the middle kingdom now accounts for the most Cadillac sales.
Cadillac’s sales fell 4.1 percent to 10,298 units in the U.S. during the month, while its sales jumped an almost unbelievable 116 percent to 18,011 units in China.
Granted we’re only going by January’s results, 2017 will most certainly be the year China overtakes the U.S. given the brand’s sales momentum in the world’s largest market.
Cadillac President Johan de Nysschen stated:
“Cadillac begins 2017 with a continuation of the robust global growth of 2016, a year in which we sold more products worldwide than any point in the past three decades. We are growing the business significantly and attracting a youthful and affluent demographic, elevating the aspirational character of the brand. This is particularly the case in China, where our growth is explosive and sustained.”
The U.S. ended 2016 with a comfortable lead over China in terms of Cadillac sales, accounting for 170,006 deliveries compared to China’s 116,406 units. Expect a flip-flop in 2017.
Do you find it strange that a “communist” country is now the largest single market for an iconic car brand that was once the very embodiment of capitalist ideals? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Qoros Looks to Revolutionize the ICE With Camless Engine
Despite being just an upstart, Chinese automaker Qoros is quickly making a name for itself in the world of automotive. It has patented a new engine technology that could revolutionize the internal combustion engine.
Together with the founder of Koenigsegg, Qoros’s engineers are developing a camless engine, an innovation that has for the longest time been considered science-fiction. The company unveiled its so-called “QamFree” engine technology at the 2016 Guangzhou Auto Show in a working prototype.
Basically, the QamFree design eliminates traditional camshafts and uses hydraulic or electronic actuators to control the engine’s valves, a setup that allows for optimal tuning. The end result is more power and fewer emissions.
In the words of Qoros:
“Through pneumatic, hydraulic or electric actuator, it achieves an independent control of each valve and replaces the traditional camshaft valve control system, thoroughly liberating the respiration of the engine. Compared to traditional engines, the QamFree engine can achieve the integrative effect of stronger power output, lower fuel consumption, reduced emission and smaller engine package.”
Qoros promises impressive results. Its naturally-aspirated, 1.6L QamFree engine is said to produce 230 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque, a similar output to that of a conventional turbocharged 2.0L engine.
The enterprising automaker hasn’t announced when the QamFree engine will be available, but it is committed to bringing the technology to market.
Buick Global Sales Pass 1M in 2016 to Set Brand Record
General Motors’ Buick brand has set a global sales record in 2016 by selling over 1 million vehicles by the end of September, thanks to strong demand in China.
That figure is some 200,000 units ahead of what Buick tallied over the same nine-month period in 2015 and represents a 23-percent year-over-year growth rate that GM claims beats all other major brands conducting business in North America and China:
“Buick currently ranks as the second-largest passenger-car brand in China and outsells key competitors including Acura, Audi, Infiniti and Lincoln in North America.”
Unsurprisingly, SUVs and crossovers are the main driving forces behind Buick’s global growth, with the Envision alone on track to exceed 200,000 units in sales.
Despite waning sales in the broader auto industry. Buick is betting on its fourth consecutive all-time sales record in 2016. It will be interesting to see what 2017 has in store for the 113-year-old American brand.