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(2009-05-20 17:09:21)









分类: 科特勒谋略

Chinese Auto Makers Should Buy GM



Milton Kotler



There are once-in-a-opportunities that meet strategic objectives.

Chinese auto makers will enter the U.S. But there are two ways to do this. One way is to start from scratch and inch your way up over a decade of high costs for technology, operations, promotion and dealerships. This is how the Japanese and Koreans did it. For a variety of reasons, this does not suit China. The learning curve is too steep. The other way is through acquisition of infrastructure at a bargain price. This is the only way China can succeed in this goal. GM will go bankrupt, even if it gets a temporary bailout this week. Chapter 11 bankruptcy procedures are already being designed in Washington and Detroit. Restructuring is inevitable. This means that plant, workforce, technology and dealerships on the table for sale at fire sale prices. GM will need buyers for this surplus capacity in any downsizing re-organization. It also means that forfeited to make the re-organization possible.



SAIC, already a GM partner, and other Chinese makers, whether independently or in consortium, can come to the table and be helpful to the re-structuring process by purchasing critical assets that can jump-start China auto entry into the U.S. If China does not do this, Japanese, Korean and European makers will ruthlessly take away the prize pickings and strengthen their position in the U.S. market. A cooperative approach to acquisition and partnership with GM that give China an entry and preserves a downsized GM will be more welcomed by the American pub than a rape of assets by the Asian and European makers.



The best approach would be a partnership that would offload some brands and dealerships to the Chinese and share U.S. technology and management. GM could secure its foothold in China; China can gain U.S. entry. GM may be able to survive with a small set of brands; China would enter with some GM low-price brands and indigenous China brands. Dealers would carry GM and Chinese vehicles. The details and negotiations for such an arrangement would be formidable but doable. The key thing is to come to the table and see what you can bet for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.



I have been discussing this option for the past three years and private discussions have been held without public disclosure. But now is the time to make bring this option to public attention and enter the picture of a collapsing U.S. auto industry as a “Knight in Shining Armor.”  Under a very selective arrangement China can help save the U.S. auto industry, in a new form, while efficiently accomplishing its goal of auto globalization. A deal can be made that will strengthen GM in China, by admitting China into the U.S. market with a full set of resources for production an benefit GM designers for advancement in the China auto market. If done with proper negotiation and PR, this can be a win-win for GM and China. The devil is in the details. But details can be worked out.



The public will respond favorably because GM will be demonstrating confidence in GM and the American market. The fate of GM workers moving to Toyota and Honda will be a raw in the belly of Americans. It will signify defeat. A Chinese partnership, on the other hand, would signify a strategic resurgence of American manufacture with Chinese investment.



Can the Chinese partners make money with such a venture? If a Chinese partnership, under bankruptcy re-organization, can focus is sales of low cost autos, melding GM technology with its Chinese design, then GM can focus on improving its upscale brands. The U.S. market for low-cost cars is enormous and growing, by global market volume standards. China could sell a lot. This leaves GM will the task of advancing fuel efficiency and technology on its high end brands to better compete with Japanese and European makers. It would give GM a strategic vision of excellence, instead of mixing and matching high-end improvement with manic new production of cheap cars. It would restore brand integrity to GM, and give entry to China, which is the world recognized leader of low-cost and value products.



This is strategic thinking at its best. Strategy is largely misunderstood in modern academic management. Instead of dancing on complex diagrams and arcane language, real strategy is application of common sense in a thick forest of meandering and hypothetical paths. China needs a Zhu Ge Liang strategy: Move in a straight line with one general, while the opposition is desperately scrambling is every which way with a dozen generals at odds with each other.




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