Saturday, May 30, 2009

What Happened to GM's China Export Plans?

A couple of weeks ago, GM let the world know that it was planning to export small, China-made autos to the US beginning in 2011. At the time, I speculated that this announcement was merely a tactic being used to pressure the UAW in negotiations.

Today, the Financial Times is reporting that GM is now planning to build its small car in the US. This is apparently a "concession" it made to the UAW.

Ron Gettelfinger, the UAW’s president, told PBS on Thursday that the union had put pressure on GM and on the administration to block GM’s plans to build the small cars in China.

GM’s 60,000 union members were set on Thursday to approve modifications to their 2007 contract, including fewer holidays, an end to cost-of-living increases and more flexible work rules.

Mr Gettelfinger said: “I have a lot of misgivings about it. But, look, we did the absolute best that we could.”

My friend Andrew Hupert, an expert in negotiation, would have spotted GM's straw man from a mile away. Fortunately for GM, the UAW didn't.