CEO Barra attacks China gas-car ban, suggests buyers should decide

CEO Barra attacks China gas-car ban, suggests buyers should decide

CEO Barra attacks China gas-car ban, suggests buyers should decide

Barra said that, while GM is moving at full speed to develop electric cars, consumers, not government should decide how cars are powered: "I think it's best when, instead of being mandated, customers are choosing the technology because it meets their needs", she said.

With the 3.83 million cars it sold in China past year, General Motors emerged as the second-largest foreign manufacturer in the market after Volkswagen.

China this month joined other countries, including Britain and France, to say they will eventually ban sales of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars. Other countries, notably India, have been setting similar goals without giving them regulatory force.

Those rules, which led to the introduction of catalytic converters that have reduced harmful exhaust emissions in cars globally, were not requested by vehicle buyers and would not have come about without regulations issued by the then-new Environmental Protection Agency. More G.M. -branded cars are now sold in China than in the United States.

The potential bans call into question GM's plans to tackle the next generation of new energy vehicles.

GM has invested heavily in not only battery-electric models like the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV but also plug-in hybrids like the first and second generations of the Chevrolet Volt, now rated at 53 miles of electric range, enough for most daily usage.

Barra "is right to be cautious, because even if you look at Volvo's strategy, it is not 100 percent electric vehicles", said Yale Zhang, the managing director of Automotive Foresight, a Shanghai consulting firm.

Geopolitics play a considerable role in the issue. China is unenthusiastic about plug-in hybrids because most of the patents are owned by foreign automakers, particularly Japanese multinational companies.

The ban not only addresses risky air pollution in its major cities, but aligns with its government-industrial goals of dominating global production of photovoltaic solar panels, lithium-ion battery cells, and electric cars.

GM has said it plans to sell 150,000 battery-electric and plug-in hybrid cars by 2025, and and offer 10 different models with plugs by 2020.

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