General Motors (NYSE: GM), the automaker behind deeply American car companies like Chevrolet, Buick and GMC, may be stepping away from its all-American reputation to pursue the ever-expanding Chinese market.
According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, at last week's Shanghai Auto Show, GM announced that it will open a production facility in China in 2016, costing the carmaker roughly $11 billion. The new facility is estimated to create some 6,000 jobs for Chinese workers.
GM is not only looking to China as a consumer, considering auto demand has slowed in recent years, but is also recognizing the export power that China is. During the auto show, GM officials also announced that they hope the new China facility will provide more than 100,000 vehicles per year for export. This, company officials said, will allow for export revenues to grow by more than 50 percent.
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In a not too distant future, this could even mean seeing Chinese-manufactured American cars filling showrooms stateside.
"There is no reason why we can't be exporting to the states," GM China President Bob Socia said during the auto show, according to Autoblog.
But before all that, GM may have some PR damage to attend to.
According to Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, a new Chevrolet ad could put the budding GM-China relationship in jeopardy.
An ad for the new Chevrolet Trax SUV has been pulled after it was discovered that the advertisements' accompanying music had racially insensitive lyrics toward China and other Asian nations. The featured song by Parov Stelar called "Booty Swing," samples a 1938 song by swing singer Lil Hardin Armstrong called "Oriental Swing."
Some of the song lyrics reference in the original Armstrong tune refer to China as "the land of Fu Manchu," where women say "ching, ching, chop-suey, swing some more!"
According to the YouTube clip, the advertisement aired in areas in North America, specifically Canada. While the lyrics in the song are considered to be racially insensitive, the ad itself does not depict China or anything remotely Chinese and is not considered to contain any racist video content.
Additional lyrics to the song also include references to Arab, Gypsy and Japanese stereotypes. GM told the South China Morning Post that the ad has been pulled from Canadian airwaves, where it has played through the month of April.