Is general motors owned by China? Who owns GM right now?

Is general motors owned by China? In the past, the U.S. government was a majority shareholder in the company (after the 2008 bailouts). However, in 2010 GM broke free from the government’s yoke and was reborn in its current incarnation. Today, the top three individual GM shareholders are Mary Barra, Mark Reuss and Dan Ammann.

Is general motors owned by China?

The short answer is, “No”.

GM is still a U.S.-based multinational auto company, incorporated in Delaware and headquartered in Detroit. In fact, according to the Congressional Budget Office, about 33 percent of the stock in GM is still owned by the U.S. Treasury as a result of a taxpayer-assisted bankruptcy and downsizing in 2009.

Is general motors owned by China

But the company sells cars in more than 120 countries and accounted for nearly 12 percent of all car and truck sales worldwide last year (11.9 percent, according to GM’s annual report). It’s also true that China is now the largest market for car sales on earth. Total car sales in China surpassed those in the U.S. in 2009. China retained the lead in 2011, and that lead is expected to grow in the future.

So like it or not, the world’s automakers have been drawn to this huge and growing market, and GM has been particularly successful there. The video’s narrator clearly doesn’t like it.

His video asks, “Was the bailout a mistake?” And he goes on to quote an account criticizing GM’s Cadillac brand for supposedly currying favor with “the underworld mob that runs China.”

We won’t offer opinions on whether or not GM or any other company should be doing business in China, or on other controversial issues on which the narrator takes a stand. Our job is to look at the facts.

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Overall, the video gives a one-sided picture. And on a couple of points it misleads. Here we offer a more complete and accurate picture, so readers may decide for themselves how they feel about GM’s dealings in China.

GM Expanding

Narrator Wade states that “GM has been shrinking its U.S. operations, while it’s aggressively expanding and investing in the People’s Republic of China.” But the fact is GM is currently expanding in both places.

It’s true that GM shrank much of its U.S. operations — shedding old brands and dealerships and many workers — when it went through bankruptcy in 2009. The alternative was to go out of business entirely.

But since then, the “new” GM has enjoyed expanding sales and operations. For example, it announced in January that it is building a new, $200 million stamping plant in Arlington, Texas. And it states: “Since June 2009, the company has announced more than $6.9 billion of investment to upgrade or expand operations in 12 states, creating or retaining more than 17,600 jobs.”

It’s true that GM also has been expanding in China — but that was true long before the bailout. The “old” GM (the one that went bankrupt) was the largest foreign car maker in China in 2008, battling for supremacy there with Volkswagen.

The “new” GM has continued that overseas success. It sold a record 231,183 vehicles in China in May, up 21 percent from a year earlier, for example. That compares with 245,256 vehicles sold in the United States, up 11 percent from a year earlier and the highest in 33 months.

Cost to Taxpayers

It cites a figure of $80 billion, which actually covers the government’s peak disbursements for both GM and Chrysler, as the narrator mentions in passing. But the net cost of the entire bailout is currently estimated to end up being $19 billion (by the Congressional Budget Office) to $22 billion (by the U.S. Treasury).

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Most of that $80 billion has been recovered through interest payments, loan repayments and sale of government-owned stock. And of course, some portion of that is attributable to bailing out Chrysler.

Taxpayers still own about 33 percent of GM stock, according to CBO (other calculations put the total closer to 32 percent). Either way, the final cost of the bailout depends largely on whether the price of GM stock rises or falls between now and when the government decides to sell its shares.

So the better GM does, the less U.S. taxpayers will be hurt. And a key part of GM’s global business strategy is selling and manufacturing cars in China. As then-GM CEO Rick Wagoner said in 2008: “The automaker that gets China right will be the future leader of the industry.”

Global Auto Realities

Much of the video is devoted to showing GM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Daniel F. Akerson explaining GM’s overseas operations to reporters in Shanghai in February 2011.

Is general motors owned by China

Akerson noted that almost “seven out of 10 of our vehicles were made outside the United States” and that “we have 11 joint ventures” with government-owned Chinese companies (which the narrator later describes as partnerships with the “autocratic, anti-Democracy, Communist government of China”).

Akerson goes on to say, “We’re involved in vehicle manufacturing, sales, distribution, engineering design” and other auto-related businesses. He also said GM operates 11 assembly plants and four power train plants in eight cities in China.

That may sound surprising to some viewers, but the fact is that building and selling cars outside the home country is standard for multinational auto firms today. Japanese and German firms have many manufacturing facilities in the U.S., for example.

In fact, the top 10 “American-made” cars as ranked by Cars.com include three made by Toyota and two made by Honda (plus three made by GM, one by Ford and one by Jeep, a division of Chrysler, which is still U.S.-based but mostly owned by the Italian auto firm Fiat.)

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The single most “American” car made and sold in the U.S. today is the 2012 Toyota Avalon, with 85 percent domestic content (meaning parts made in either the U.S. or Canada), according to ratings published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Two GM passenger vans are tied for second, with 82 percent domestic content. (Toyota’s Matrix has 95 percent domestic content, more than any other vehicle sold in the U.S., but is assembled in Canada.)

GM’s facilities sprawl across the globe. Besides its plants in the U.S. and China, it is the third-largest car maker in Korea. It makes cars in Brazil, has owned Britain’s Vauxhall brand since 1925, and still owns the troubled Opel brand, manufactured in Germany, Poland and Britain, to cite a partial list.

FAQs

Which Chinese company owns GM?

In effect, GM will be owned and under the control of SAIC, which will make combined company far and away the world’s largest automaker by volume. It goes deeper than that, though. SAIC is owned and controlled by the Chinese Government.

Who owns General Motors right now?

Ownership Structure: GM’s ownership is spread among institutional investors, named executive officers, and other beneficial owners. The top shareholders are BlackRock, Inc., The Vanguard Group, Capital Research Global Investors, Capital World Investors, and Mary T. Barra (GM’s CEO).

How much does the US government own of GM?

U.S. taxpayers no longer own any of automaker General Motors. The Treasury sold the last of its remaining 31.1 million GM shares today. It started with 500 million shares in 2010. The taxpayer loss on the GM bailout is $10.5 billion.

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