GM switches story on relationship with Chinese offshoot

Ryan Lovelace Contributor
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General Motors is changing its tune on its relationship with Shanghai GM, one of the company’s Chinese joint ventures.

Greg Martin, executive director of communications strategy for GM, told The Daily Caller in May 2011 that Shanghai GM “is a completely separate and distinct business entity based in China that has no organizational or financial ties whatsoever” with the Detroit car maker.

“It  is not GM,” Martin said then. “It is not GM money. And it is in no shape or form, or indirectly, taxpayer money.”

Now Martin is telling a different tale as his company reported record sales in China, where sales jumped 10 percent from last year.

“Shanghai GM is GM,” Martin told TheDC on Friday. “We make money, they make money.”

Martin said Friday he had “no idea” why the discrepancy between his statements exists, but said “I probably had a good riff going at the time.”

The change of heart may be due to sales pressures on GM, which recently fell behind Toyota in global sales. (RELATED: GM no longer #1, despite Obama’s campaign-trail claims)

GM’s stock also hit a new low last week at $18.72 per share — more than 52 percent below its January 2011 high. But that bad news has not stopped President Barack Obama from praising what he calls an American automotive success.

“I’m running to make sure what happened in the auto industry is happening in other sections of manufacturing,” Obama said July 13 while touting GM’s performance at a campaign stop in Hampton, Va.

“It doesn’t just need to happen in Detroit; it needs to happen in Cleveland and Raleigh and Richmond and Hampton.”