Last Thursday, the cargo ship CSCC Shanghai left Ventura County’s Port Hueneme with a load of near-extinct species bound for Shanghai, China: 2,100 GM big bore Buicks and Cadillacs. A lot of cargo space was also taken-up by gas-gulping Cadillac Escalades. China’s importing the American behemoths like they are going out of style (which, of course, they are). According to China’s General Administration of Customs, SUV imports from January to August surged a whopping 75 percent year-on-year, to 147k units. In fact, SUVs amount for half of the total imported vehicles.(Imported sedans only increased 17 percent.) Even higher gasoline prices and punitive taxes slapped on big displacement vehicles could not suppress China’s appetite for cubic inches. As far as GM’s concerned, China won’t go hungry. GM logistics specialist Don Asdell told the Associated Press that he’s looking at one or two boatloads a month for the Chinese market. Needless to say, there’s more (says so right there).
China will also import more foreign GM technology for domestic production and consumption. Gasgoo reports that GM will bolster its Chinese Buick line with European and American implants. Shanghai GM will use the Delta II platform (think Chevy Cruze) to make its new-generation Buick Excelle. Open source auto intelligence analysts scoured a new car model list recently released by China’s auto industry regulator. They found two new Shanghai GM models, code-named SGM7205 and SGM7241. Further prying revealed that these are longer-wheel based models of the Chinese Buick Regal and LaCrosse, made from the Epsilon II platform (a.k.a. Opel Insignia.) The new models are expected in China’s showrooms by year’s end.