After watching sales in
GM sales in the People’s Republic of China, including those made by Shanghai GM, SAIC-GM-Wuling and a small but growing number of imported vehicles, are expected to reach around 950,000 units, according to Michael Bernhard, the chief financial officer for the GM China Group.
However, Bernhard and other GM China hands also noted that forecasts have been wide of the mark over the past several years and have underestimated the pace of growth in the Chinese car market.
“Our forecasts were woefully inadequate,” said Julian Blissett, deputy executive director of manufacturing at Shanghai GM.
All anyone knows at this point is that it will continue to grow and grow rapidly, GM executives said last week during a series of briefings on the eve of the Beijing Motor Show. “Next year’s expansion should leave GM just shy of selling more than one million vehicles in the Chinese market,” added Bernhard. However, selling one million units next year is probably too much of a stretch, he said.
Kevin Wale, the president and managing director of Shanghai GM, also said GM isn’t about to rest on its laurels and is adjusting its product portfolio and expanding its technical capabilities to meet the demands of the growing Chinese market, where sales could top eight million units next year.
“What we’re trying to do is grow faster than the market,” Wale added.
GM is introducing several new vehicles, such as the Cadillac SLS and Chinese version of the Buick LaCrosse, both of which were specifically tailored by GM engineers and designers for Chinese tastes. GM’s product portfolio in
Nick Reilly, GM group executive for Asia Pacific, said one of GM’s strengths is its multi-brand strategy, which has positioned Cadillac at the top end to face off against other premium luxury brands such as BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Buick, which has made enormous inroads into
GM’s operations in
“We can’t look to North America or
GM also is learning some lessons about capital efficiency from its Korean subsidiary Daewoo, lessons also being employed in GM’s
Reilly also said that going forward GM also will have to concentrate in developing small vehicles. “If we’re going to compete in
Wale, however, stressed that was great opportunity in
Blisset added that
“People are making margins here. We’d kill for half our margins (in
2006 Beijing Auto Show by Joseph Szczesny (11/20/2006)
GM plans China hybrids, Audi growing in China.