GM sees Cadillac sales in China tripling over next 3 years

NEW YORK Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:10pm EDT

A 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan is displayed on stage during an unveiling ceremony in New York, March 26, 2013. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

A 2014 Cadillac CTS sedan is displayed on stage during an unveiling ceremony in New York, March 26, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The head of General Motors Co's (GM.N) Cadillac brand expects its sales in China, the world's biggest luxury car market, to grow by two-thirds this year and triple there by 2016.

"We now expect Cadillac sales to triple over the next three years," Bob Ferguson, vice president in charge of the Cadillac brand, said at a company event on Tuesday ahead of the New York auto show.

GM, the No. 1 U.S. automaker, wants to push Cadillac sales in China this year to about 50,000 vehicles from about 30,000 last year, Ferguson told reporters at an event to introduce a new version of the CTS mid-sized sedan. GM is a market leader in China.

He added that he sees Cadillac sales for the rest of the year in the U.S. market outperforming the 32 percent growth the brand has seen there in the first two months.

Ferguson also said the company would look to boost sales in Europe and other parts of the world as part of its efforts to make Cadillac a global luxury brand. He said 56 percent of U.S. consumers and more than 70 percent in China tell GM that they want to buy a luxury vehicle that belongs to a successful global brand.

"Credibility on a global basis is important to the luxury consumer," he said.

GM has no plans to build the CTS in China, where it assembles the larger XTS sedan, Ferguson said. The company does, however, intend to build the ATS small car in that market starting late this year or early next year.

The CTS will go on sale in China next year and remains the linchpin to Cadillac achieving its growth targets, he said.

"We need to sell a lot of CTS cars," Ferguson said. "This will be a big part of the volume growth of Cadillac sales."

Cadillac officials said the brand has almost 200 dealers in China now and will have between 250 and 300 within 12 to 18 months.

(Reporting by Ben Klayman in New York; Editing by Chris Gallagher)

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