General Motors Will Hit One Million Vehicles Sales In China This Year

However GM has lost market share in China.

General Motors Corp. expects to sell more than one million vehicles in China for the first time ever this year, chief financial officer Fritz Henderson said Aug. 8. But the company has nevertheless lost market share in the quickly growing Chinese market, he admitted.

"We're on pace for our sales in China join the million unit club," Henderson said, calling China now GM's second most important market after the U.S. "It's also profitable growth," he said. Henderson predicted GM's earnings from its Chinese ventures would increase from $157 million to around $230 million this year. GM has stakes in several different operations in China, among them Shanghai Automotive and a joint venture with Wuling Automotive.

Henderson, during a presentation to securities analysts, said Chinese demand for new vehicles is up 21% and should top 8.4 million units in 2007, a four-fold increase from the two million vehicles sold in 2001.

GM is also looking to open up additional markets for its vehicles in countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and India.

Last week GM said its U.S. sales dropped 18.5% in July as Asian and European firms topped U.S. producers in U.S. market share. GM, Ford and Chrysler ended July with just 48.1% of their home market.

Asian carmakers captured 44.6% -- with Toyota Motor accounting for 17.1% of the market -- while European brands held 7.3%, according to Autodata.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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