| SHANGHAI, July 4
SHANGHAI, July 4 General Motors Co
expects Cadillac sales in China to rise by at least 40 percent
this year, as the U.S. carmaker steps up local production in a
market key to transforming Cadillac into a global luxury brand,
a senior executive said.
Cadillac sales in China surged 71.7 percent during the first
half, outpacing roughly 32 percent growth in China's premium
vehicle market, the company reported on Friday.
GM China Vice President John Stadwick forecast full-year
sales of 70,000 vehicles.
"If you want to be a global brand, you have to have presence
in the largest (auto) market, so there's complete focus from
leadership to ensure that we do it and we do it right (in
China)," Stadwick, who's in charge of vehicle sales, service and
marketing, said in an interview in Shanghai.
China may overtake the United States as the world's biggest
market for premium cars, consultancy McKinsey & Co has forecast.
To accelerate growth in China, GM will announce a second
Cadillac model next month to be locally made, and a third one
early next year, he said, declining to give details.
The strategy of local production, which helps skirt high
import duties, would enable Cadillac to be priced more
competitively in a luxury car market currently dominated by
German brands BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz,
all of which are heavily made in China.
"We believe in building where you sell ... so going forward,
you will see fewer and fewer Cadillacs imported and more and
more built in China," Stadwick said, adding that the strategy
gives Cadillac an edge over rivals such as Lexus who don't make
cars in China.
Lexus, the premium brand of Toyota Motor Corp which
sold 70,400 vehicles in China last year according to consultancy
LMC Automotive, has no plans to make cars there due to its
emphasis on quality, Lexus head Tokuo Fukuichi said in April.
Another newcomer, Ford Motor Co.'s premium brand
Lincoln, will hit showrooms in China later this year, but Ford
hasn't disclosed any plans to produce it locally.
GM, which also sells Chevrolet and Buick in China, is
counting on Cadillac to triple its share of the country's luxury
car market to 10 percent.
(Editing by Susan Fenton)