April 18, 2011 / 11:52 AM / 9 years ago

GM eyes doubling of China sales by 2015

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - General Motors (GM.N) plans to more than double its sales in China to around 5 million units by 2015, its China head said on Monday, unveiling the company’s five-year plan for the world’s biggest auto market.

In a briefing ahead of the Shanghai Auto Show, which launches on Tuesday, GM China chief Kevin Wale said GM planned to introduce around 60 new and upgraded models in China over the next five years, around 12 of them being Buicks and 15 Chevrolets.

The 2015 target, which includes light vehicles, would be up from 2.35 million units sold by GM in China in 2010. In the previous two years, GM more than doubled its volume in China.

“We’ve set aggressive goals with our five-year plan. We are confident that we will achieve every one of our goals,” Wale told reporters.

GM is looking to tap a market that it expects to continue to grow strongly, even though it might slow from last year, when the vehicle market expanded by a third.

It and its rivals are rolling out new models for the Chinese market, seeking to gain a foothold particularly in the smaller cities where much of the growth is expected to come over the next five years.

“We still expect the market to grow between 10-15 percent this year,” Wale said, referring to the broader China market.

As part of its plans, GM aims to work with local partner SAIC Motor Corp (600104.SS) to develop next-generation electric vehicle (EV) architecture adapted to the Chinese market, Wale said, adding GM aimed to build battery electric vehicles in China.

GM plans to launch the new Baojun brand, which it is producing through a venture with SAIC in southern China, at 150 dealerships and to expand quickly, he said.

GM also unveiled targets for other markets.

Tim Lee, president of GM’s international operations, told the briefing that it planned to team up with its partners to introduce light commercial vehicles to India.

GM international operations vice president of sales Susan Docherty added that GM expects sales of Chevrolet vehicles in its international operations, including China, to more than double in five years.

Chevrolet sold 1.1 million vehicles globally in the first quarter, up 15 percent from a year earlier, Docherty said.

GM sold 1.2 million Chevrolets in its international operations unit last year, up 40 percent from 2009 and more than double from five years ago.

Chevrolet vehicles constitute about 35 percent of all GM international operation sales.

GM said late last year it expects exports of its China-made Chevrolet Sail to more than quadruple this year due to rising demand for low-cost quality vehicles in emerging markets.

Writing by Jason Subler; Editing by Jacqueline Wong

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