We mentioned a while back about the growing number of cars making its way into China. But apparently, cars aren’t the only ones infiltrating the world’s most populated country.

So are car factories.

We recently got word that General Motors, in an effort to build their brand on overseas markets – especially in China and Asia – will begin making the Chevrolet Volt extended-range electric car in China starting in 2011.

Now it seems that tapping into the largest market in the world is a sound strategy for GM, especially after going through its worst crisis in company history. The Detroit-based manufacturer is expected to use its China facility to continue building on its revolutionary technology in a wide variety of vehicles, which includes the Volt and a host of other cars the company is trying to introduce to the vast Asian market. Unlike their dismal showing in the US, GM is hopeful that the Chinese market – the biggest in the world by a mile – will take a liking to the Volt and the slew of other vehicles they’re planning to produce in the country. As it stands, all Volts built in China are to be sold there but the company is expected to open its doors to other Asian markets as well.

Continued after the jump.

Initially, GM will export some U.S.-built Volts in 2010, but will also gradually shift its production line and facility to China in 2011, where it will begin production of the car, as well as other vehicles that use the Volt’s powertrain technology around the world.

The decision for GM to move a production facility across the Pacific hardly comes as surprising considering that China has been one country that has relentlessly and aggressively promoted both hybrid and electric vehicles, mostly because the government wants to reduce the country’s oil consumption and lessen the amount of pollution prevalent in most of its more-populated cities.

The move also makes sense for GM because China is on the initial phase of their project in emphasizing the use of alternate-fuel vehicles. The county has said that it wants at the very least 60,000 alternate-fuel cars out on the streets by 2012, and with the GM move to China coming in 2011, the car manufacturer hopes that a lot of those 60,000 cars will be Chevy Volts.

Source: Free Press

Kirby Garlitos
Automotive Aftermarket Expert - kirby@topspeed.com
Kirby’s first exposure into the world of automobiles happened when he caught Knight Rider on television as a five-year old boy. David Hasselhoff didn’t leave much of an impression on him (that happened later on in Baywatch), but KITT certainly did. To this day, Kirby remains convinced that he will one day own a car with the same ‘spirit’ as the original KITT (not the 2008 monstrosity). He doesn't know when that will be, but until then, he’s committed to expressing his love for KITT, and all cars for that matter, here at TopSpeed.  Read More
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  (78) posted on 06.30.2009

Earlier this year, China’s BYD Auto brought its Volt-like plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to the Detroit Auto Show, beating the local automakers to market by a year or more. So fortunately for the Detroit 3, BYD’s market right now is limited to China, and after the company unveiled its F3DM PHEV to North America. BYD has since announced that it doesn’t intend to export the vehicle to America until 2011. So we will see if Volt can steal the scene with it whooping 40K price tag against more cheper electric cars that would also try their market in China.

  (137) posted on 06.30.2009

Well, there must be basis for this as we all know, outside the U.S., the Volt will be marketed as the Holden Volt, the Opel Ampera and the Vauxhall Ampera. In fact the Chinese government is aggressively promoting electric and hybrid vehicles as a way to reduce oil consumption and improve air quality in the country’s polluted cities.

  (79) posted on 06.30.2009

Volt vehicle line executive Frank Weber says the Volt—and electric cars in general—are key to increasing energy independence, giving heart to Volt fans everywhere. I guess, GM has high hope that Volt is the answer to their financial problem to get back on to the competition maybe thinking of replicating the success of Prius.

  (116) posted on 06.30.2009

GM’s bankruptcy will let it shed a lot of legacy costs and become competitive again. But not even the restructuring will make the pricey Volt a mass-market success. And the new owners–the government and taxpayers–will have to come to terms with this tension. GM can focus on making mass-market cars that sell well and abandon the Volt. Or it can carry on with the Volt and hope either costs come down or consumers suddenly change their habits and run out to buy a $40,000 compact sedan. With the hope of making this happne Gm is ready to market Volt to China and build production sites in the area. I hope this will work.

  (177) posted on 06.30.2009

I’d bet that the first generation Volt suffers from all kinds of problems. And as far as the price tag, let’s see whether GM can make any money at $40,000.

A good electric car might be fun to drive. But woe to those who rush out to buy something half-baked. I’ll wait to see how reliable they prove to be and, more importantly, how the Euro and Japanese imports and transplants beat GM at its EV game. I just hope this plan of building a plan in China to support its need may really work in hte long term.

  (231) posted on 06.30.2009

I personally think that if GM is to have any hope of a future they need to finish the Volt project. For one I think they are past the point of no return. They have so much invested in it already it seems ridiculous to give up in the home stretch. From all that I have read, it seems like they have most of the major components in place, the bulk of the core engineering is done, (which is where your primary R&D costs come into play) and they are focusing now on product testing and fine tuning of control systems. There is still a considerable cost associated with these stages, but with so much already invested it is a pittance in comparison. And I think this is what they are doing now with the idea of marketing it to China!

  (289) posted on 06.30.2009

The point in developing new products is not always to make money in the short term. Toyota lost money on the Prius for years — but it developed the technology that has put the company in a leadership role. GM may lose money on the Volt in the short term, but come out ahead in the long run. And I think that it is timely that the govt is supporting this move and there is a big market to tap in hte long run. So this I suppose is a win win solution rather than keeping their gas gargling poor and heavy line up

  (318) posted on 06.30.2009

I think Gm realyl inteands to catch the China market who expressed its intention to increast its feul efficient roads by 2012, so GM is really on the og to this massive plan of distributing to China their promising electric car and of course knowing that China has the biggest population, there is always a possibility of getting the targeted market in no time.

  (314) posted on 06.30.2009

It is planned I suppose. But techincally, GM may expand production of the vehicle to other facilities once the Hamtramck assembly plant can no longer meet demand. Until then, it will export the Volt from the U.S. to other markets.

  (421) posted on 06.30.2009

Well, China is one place GM anticipates it will build the Volt in the future. China wants to have at least 60,000 alternative fuel vehicles on its roads by 2012, a goal the GM feels it can help the Chinese government attain. All Volts built in China will be sold in that country.

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