Related News

Home » Business » Auto

CEO absent but focus on China

DEALING with the crisis at General Motors Corp kept new CEO Fritz Henderson from traveling to Shanghai's auto show, but executives say the company intends to continue growing in China regardless of how its financial mess is resolved.

"Of course, China remains a key market for GM," Nick Reilly, president of GM's Asia-Pacific division, said on the sidelines of the Shanghai Auto Show, which opened yesterday. "We will continue to invest in new products for China, in new facilities and the latest in technology," he said.

While it scales back elsewhere, Detroit-based GM is aiming to double sales in China to about 2 million within the next five years, whether it ends up in bankruptcy protection or not, said Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group.

"It is very important to understand that if there is a court-ordered restructuring, it is different from in some other countries," Wale said. "A company continues to trade and continues its business and can come out of it stronger than before."

Success in China, the world's second biggest auto market after the United States and perhaps soon to be the leading market, is crucial for GM's future.

In China, where total vehicle sales hit a monthly high of 1.1 million in March, GM expects to grow 5 percent to 10 percent this year.

Underscoring China's importance to GM, Henderson had planned to attend the Shanghai show despite the pressing June 1 deadline for completing restructuring plans set by the US government. But he canceled late last week, deeming the US situation his top priority, the company said.

Shanghai is the location for GM's decade-old joint venture with state-owned Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corp.

Reilly acknowledged that GM's precarious financial state makes planning for the future somewhat uncertain.

"We know, however, that there will be no disruptions to our operations here in this region," he said.

GM has had to scale output back and put off or slow projects in some Asian markets due to the impact of the global slowdown, but it is still looking for chances to grow.

But GM's China operations do not need any help from the US or elsewhere, Wale said.

GM remains profitable here and is able to reinvest in its facilities, Wale said.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend