SUVs Not Selling? Ship Them to China

Detroit’s Big Three automakers signed a deal yesterday with the Chinese government that will allow them to ship $2.2 billion in vehicles and parts to China, most of which are made in the U.S., reports the Detroit News.

GM is exporting $1 billion in U.S.-built vehicles and parts, primarily Cadillacs, to China, over the next two years. Chrysler is exporting about $400 million worth of Jeep SUVs by 2009. Ford is shipping 30,000 U.S. and Canadian-built vehicles to China as well.

"This historic export agreement with China is another step in our commitment to accelerate the development of new products that customers want and value and leverage Ford’s global assets," Ford CEO Alan Mulally said in a statement.

The timing of the deal might actually help the Big Three because big SUVs and trucks sell well in China and are in demand there. Here in the U.S., they are just sitting on dealer lots and collecting dust.

On the flip side, China’s automakers are doing well here in the U.S., with sales of their smaller vehicles and hybrids on the rise.

Exporting vehicles to China is nothing new though, as Ford has been sending vehicles to China since 1913. Ford says the agreement on Monday is one of the company’s largest export agreements ever.