'Nightly News' Praises Gas-Guzzling GM Autos for Chinese Success

August 7th, 2008 9:52 AM

Maybe it is because NBC has the broadcast rights for the Summer Olympics being held in China, but big gas-guzzling, greenhouse gas-emitting automobiles made by General Motors are seen as a plus for the communist nation's embrace of capitalism.

The August 6 "NBC Nightly News" featured the Chinese people's love of troubled U.S. automaker General Motors (NYSE:GM) - an indicator interpreted as an acceptance of capitalism.

"What would Chairman Mao think?" CNBC correspondent Phil LeBeau asked. "Six decades after the Communist Revolution, China has become the hottest capitalist engine on earth. And ironically, some of the most revered symbols of success in today's China are Cadillac, Buick and Chevrolet."

According to LeBeau's report, Buick is "hip" and that has made GM the top-selling automaker in China. Overall the automaker has made $1 billion this year off of Asian sales - although it lost $9 billion in the United States.

"Waggoner knows staying on top in China won't be easy either," LeBeau said. "But when GM's U.S. troubles keep him up at night, he can remind himself, at least for now, Buick is Chinese for success."

Less than two months ago, on the June 26 broadcast of "Nightly News," anchor Brian Williams raised the possibility of the auto manufacturer going out of business. The report suggested GM and other American carmakers were unwilling to switch to smaller, more fuel efficient cars, which are in higher demand due to high gas prices.