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"China to the Rescue?"

Chinese factory factory workers assemble a car on the production line at an auto plant of Chongqing Chana, known as Chongqing Changan, in Chongqing, China, October 2008.
AP Photo

"China to the Rescue?"

Magazine or Newspaper Article, Foreign Policy

May 7, 2009

Author: Kelly Sims Gallagher, Member of the Board

Belfer Center Programs or Projects: Energy Technology Innovation Policy; Environment and Natural Resources; Science, Technology, and Public Policy


How Beijing can save Detroit.


"In an effort to avoid duplicating a Chrysler-like bankruptcy, General Motors and Ford are trying to sell two of their marquee assets — Saab and Volvo. According to numerous news reports, Chinese firms are among the top bidders. In the end, however, there may not be enough good stuff in either of these two brands for the Chinese to do more than express interest.

Unbeknownst to many in the United States, China has been rapidly building a world-class automobile industry. In the early 1980s, after the Cultural Revolution, China started licensing technology and forming joint ventures with foreign firms. It issued its first Auto Industry Policy in 1994, and sales exploded right around the turn of the century. Today, China's auto industry is extending its prowess abroad — selling cars and trucks in Brazil, Mexico, and Uruguay. Now, GM is apparently entertaining a bid for Saab from Chinese manufacturer Geely. Both Geely and another Chinese firm, Chang'An, have expressed interest in Volvo, though both have released statements denying this.

So, is China taking over the automotive world?"

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For Academic Citation:

Gallagher, Kelly Sims. "China to the Rescue?." Foreign Policy, May 7, 2009.

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