As Detroit Crumbles, China Emerges as Auto Epicenter - by Kendra Marr
America's auto titans are dismantling their global empires. But across the Pacific, it's as if the global economic forces that have pummeled Detroit never struck. Chinese auto sales are up, and this year China is projected to displace Japan as the world's largest car producer. Buying up iconic brands such as Hummer or Saturn could supply Chinese automakers with the technological expertise to help them leapfrog past long-established competitors, said Kelly Sims Gallagher, a lecturer at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, who wrote a book on Chinese automakers. "That's where Chinese firms are weakest," she said. "They have world-class business and manufacturing capabilities now. What they still lack is technological know-how, systems integration, being able to design new vehicles from scratch and get them to a manufacturing line."
China still suffers from its reputation of being a copycat manufacturer. An acquisition could lend clout to some of the nation's 100 car companies that are largely unknown outside their home country.