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October 15, 2009

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Home » Business » Auto

GM aims to expand quicker in 2010

GENERAL Motors Co is aiming to beat the already fast pace of growth in the Chinese market, with sales this year possibly surpassing 1.6 million vehicles, Kevin Wale, its president for China operations, said yesterday.

"We have now exceeded 1.3 million units with three months to go so we will probably exceed 1.6 million," Wale wrote in an online exchange with reporters. "Next year we will again try to grow a little faster than the market growth."

GM's sales are already outpacing the overall market. Its total sales in China for the January-September period surged 55 percent over a year earlier to nearly 1.3 million vehicles, helped by tax cuts and subsidies, especially of small, fuel efficient models.

The surge in demand has helped China widen its lead over the United States as the world's top auto market, with 9.66 million vehicles sold in the first nine months of this year, up 34 percent from the same period last year.

China's auto sales are forecast to soar to 12.6 million units this year, up 35 percent from last year.

The US ranks second, with sales at about 7.8 million cars and trucks in the first three quarters of this year.

Reflecting the importance of the Chinese market to GM, the company has located its international headquarters in Shanghai, where it has a flagship joint venture with local auto maker SAIC Motor Corp.

GM's CEO Fritz Henderson, who visited Shanghai earlier this week, took pains to emphasize the priority the company places on expanding here.

He disclosed that more than 30 new or "refreshed" models will be introduced over the next five years.


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