BEIJING, June 3 General Motors Co, the
biggest foreign automaker be sales in China, aims to boost its
exports from the country by nearly 70 percent this year because
of strong demand for its Chinese-developed low-cost cars, a
local executive said.
The U.S. automaker plans to export as many as 130,000
China-made vehicles this year, up from 77,000 vehicles in 2012,
driven by demand for its Chevrolet Sail in other emerging
"While GM's primary philosophy is to manufacture where it
sells, we find that product exports are necessary to meet global
market demands when GM does not have local manufacturing
capabilities for a particular vehicle," Bob Socia, the head of
GM in China, told Reuters in an email.
The Sail, which was co-developed with partner SAIC Motor
Corp, became an instant hit when it was launched in
January 2010. It is the first foreign brand in China with a
price tag below 60,000 yuan ($9,800).
The Sail, which accounted for 80 percent of GM's exports
from China last year, is also helping the firm compete with
Japanese, South Korean and other brands in South America and
other emerging markets, said Socia, who is also chief country
operations officer for GM's China, India and ASEAN operations.
To meet increasing demand from abroad, GM is now assembling
the Sail in Colombia, Ecuador and India using components
supplied by its Shanghai car venture with SAIC.
In the first four months of the year, GM shipped 33,623
vehicles overseas, surpassing Geely Automobile Holdings Co Ltd
to become China's second-largest auto exporter after
Chery, which shipped 46,234 during the period, according to
Namrita Chow, a senior analyst at IHS Automotive.
With a few exceptions, such as Honda Motor Co Ltd,
which makes the Jazz compact car exclusively for the European
markets at a small facility in southeastern China, exports of
China-made cars by foreign automakers have been limited.
Volkswagen AG, GM's closest rival in the
country, has no plans to boost exports from China in the near
future, a local spokesman said.
What sets GM apart in its ability to tap emerging markets
with its China-built cars is its heavy investment in research
and development in China, analysts say.
"GM has invested heavily in R&D in China over the past
years," said John Zeng, North Asia director of consultancy LMC
Automotive, noting that the research and engineering venture GM
has with SAIC since 1997 is also helping develop designs for
Foreign automakers that have exported small volumes from
China include PSA Peugeot Citroen's car venture
Dongfeng Automobile Group Co (DPCA) and BMW.
DPCA and BMW shipped 1,152 and 102 China-build cars during
the first four months of 2013, respectively. Honda shipped 7,972
cars overseas during the period.