As General Motors works to ramp up its EV production and sales to top Tesla by 2025, it's looking into new sales strategies, at least in some markets. It comes as no surprise the legacy automaker may move to a direct sales program in China, which closely mirrors Tesla's model, since several automakers appear to be leaning toward new approaches for future car sales.
According to Teslarati, GM's new plan in China will be a "wholly-owned direct sales platform" named Durant Guild. Interestingly, the name comes from General Motors founder William Durant. To be clear, there will be no Durant running the show. Rather, GM has chosen Felix Weller to take the reins.
Through the new plan, GM will import intriguing models into China, such as the GMC Hummer EV or Hummer EV SUV. Only models already sold in the US will become part of the program. The company will then sell them directly to customers in China with no dealer. GM will also follow Tesla's lead with local experience centers and pop-up stores, as well as special events that require a company-certified invitation.
Julian Blissett, GM China's chief, made it clear to the media that the company won't be selling EVs at high volume through Durant Guild. Instead, the US automaker wants to begin to prove to the people of China that it can make compelling future products. Company executives hope the plan will renew interest in its products in China. Blissett shared via Teslarati:
“Durant Guild is not a volume play, but if we do a good job and the products sell well, it will create a lot of buzz around Cadillac and Chevy and will help how people perceive our products and technology."
Like most global automakers at this point, GM's sales are suffering. It's time to do everything it can to prove that it will be the EV leader by showcasing vehicles that are sure to impress. Blissett added that "halo cars" are becoming increasingly popular in China, such that a GMC Hummer EV might really attract positive attention in the country.
With that said, GM will have to put plenty of thought and planning into which electric cars and SUVs it imports into China, with specific attention to the brand, style, price, etc. If the program lacks buyers due to existing rivals being a better option, Durant Guild may not be able to fulfill its mission.