GM's $5K Minivan Is a Smash in China

...but with the power of a 'pumpkin on wheels,' it's likely staying there
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2010 1:37 PM CST
Shoppers look at minivans at a GM joint venture dealership in Chengdu, in southwestern China's Sichuan province.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – General Motors has a major overseas hit in its Wuling Sunshine, a $5,000 minivan that gets more than 40 miles to the gallon. It sold 590,000 of them in China last year, but don't be too quick to complain that its foreign-only status is totally unfair: The Sunshine's three-cylinder engine has less power than some lawn tractors, there are no seat belts in the back row, and it doesn't have airbags.

With a top speed of 80mph, it's a "pumpkin on wheels," an analyst tells NPR. And while GM believes it can make money off a modified version, it would have to be entirely re-engineered to pass a US safety inspection. And to even hit its top speed it would "probably take a wind behind you and a downhill ramp to get there," says a dealer. On the plus side, it currently comes with a radio.

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