GM to give all the electric car expertise to China

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

21 September 2011

This is the Heartbeat of America?

It is deja vous all over again. The Wall Street Journal had a story almost a year ago about manufacturers of high-speed rail that were furious China “stole ”the intellectual property needed to build these trains.

QINGDAO, China—When the Japanese and European companies that pioneered high-speed rail agreed to build trains for China, they thought they’d be getting access to a booming new market, billions of dollars worth of contracts and the cachet of creating the most ambitious rapid rail system in history.

“So, the Heartbeat of America has decided that it makes great short-term financial sense to enter into a joint agreement with a Chinese manufacturer.”

What they didn’t count on was having to compete with Chinese firms who adapted their technology and turned it against them just a few years later.

Well today I heard that GM (you remember GM, the US automaker that US taxpayers own) is entering into a joint agreement to build electronic cars in China. This article just appeared in the Boston Globe.

HONG KONG – General Motors said yesterday that it would develop electric cars in China through a joint venture with a Chinese automaker, and would transfer battery and other electric car technology to the venture.

GM, which is already the largest foreign maker of conventional vehicles in China, is keen to help define the emerging generation of green-energy automobiles here. And the state-controlled Chinese auto industry is just as eager for expertise from GM, an acknowledged global leader in electric car technology.China

Yesterday’s announcement was being made as the Chinese government was putting heavy pressure on foreign automakers to transfer electric car technology to joint ventures in China. But GM took pains to say that its joint-venture agreement was not connected to its plans to begin importing its new US-made Chevrolet Volt electric car to China this year.

So, the Heartbeat of America has decided that it makes great short-term financial sense to enter into a joint agreement with a Chinese manufacturer. It can’t be a long-term decision considering China’s track record, can it?

I guess GM knows best. It is not knowhow and innovation that sets the US apart from the rest of the world, it must be the ability to manufacture. So GM, feel free to give our expertise away. At the end of the day, the Heart Beat of America is a brand as real and as valued as Budweiser, the King of Belgian InBev Beer.

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