A gigantic robotic arm capable of lifting an entire chassis at a General Motors (GM) plant in Shanghai is the United States automaker's secret weapon as it seeks to sell "Made in China" cars to America.
GM hopes its high-tech approach will persuade American consumers to put aside quality concerns and safety worries over Chinese-made products, and other manufacturers hope to follow in its tracks - including Chinese firms themselves - as the auto industry globalizes further. GM and its Chinese partner SAIC earlier this year opened the $1.2 billion Cadillac factory to produce luxury vehicles, including the plug-in hybrid version of its CT6 sedan, which will be sold in both China and the U.S.
The U.S. automaker has also announced plans to export a mid-size SUV to its home market, the Buick Envision, made in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong - prompting condemnation from U.S. unions. GM China's president Matt Tsien said the Shanghai plant is as cutting-edge as any of its facilities in the U.S.Analysts say GM's size and strength might just convince potential customers."The 'Made in China' is not that much of a stumbling block. It's who is making it in China," Namrita Chow, principal analyst for IHS Automotive in London, told Agence France-Presse (AFP).