GM plans to double China vehicle sales by 2013-paper

SHANGHAI, April 9 (Reuters) - General Motors Corp GM.N plans to double its vehicle sales in China to more than 2 million units by 2013, the Shanghai Securities News said on Thursday citing company executives.

The Detriot automaker plans to add more than 30 new or upgraded models in China in the next five years, Sophia Luan, GM’s spokeswoman in China, was quoted as saying.

GM officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

GM, hit by a steeper-than-expected downturn especially in North America, faces the threat of bankruptcy if it cannot complete a reorganisation by a U.S. government-imposed June 1 deadline.

But in China, its second-largest market, sales in March rose 24.6 percent from a year earlier to 137,004 vehicles, setting a company record for monthly sales as China’s stimulus policies bolstered the market.

In the first three months, sales rose 16.8 percent to 363,701 units, the paper said.

Volkswagen AG VOWG.DE, GM's arch rival in China, said in February it planned to double its vehicle sales in mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau to 2 million units by 2018.

China’s overall auto market, the world’s largest, has received a strong boost in recent months from government policy support measures, including tax incentives and subsidies.

A senior government planning official said figures from China’s big auto groups indicated the country’s overall vehicle sales may have hit a monthly record in March, the paper reported on Wednesday. [ID:nSHA54358]

Official March auto sales data will be announced later on Thursday.

Reporting by Fang Yan, Editing by Jacqueline Wong