During the first half, GM's flagship joint venture - Shanghai General Motors Co. Ltd. (Shanghai GM) - registered a year-on-year increase in sales of 92.4 percent to 141,319 units. Its share of the domestic passenger car market between January and May reached 11.7 percent. Shanghai GM's two most popular models, the Buick Regal upper-medium sedan (which was launched in December 2002) and Buick Excelle lower-medium sedan (which was launched in August 2003), continued to expand their share of their respective market segments.
Sales at SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co. Ltd. (SAIC-GM-Wuling), GM's mini-vehicle joint venture in China's Guangxi province, rose 32.5 percent on an annual basis in the first half to 115,938 units. Its Wuling brand captured 24.3 percent of its market segment in the first five months of 2004.
"China's vehicle market as a whole continued to grow in the first part of the year," said Murtaugh. "Looking forward, we believe the fundamentals supporting long-term growth remain unchanged.
"As both a part of our commitment to growing with the market and a sign of our confidence in its overall prospects, GM continues to aggressively roll out new and upgraded products reengineered in China for China," Murtaugh added. "We also continue to seek additional opportunities to increase our presence in China in order to meet rising demand over the long haul."
In June, GM announced a series of new investments that pending government approval are expected to exceed US$3 billion over the next three years. The funds will be allocated for a number of projects including the introduction of new vehicles and powertrains, the creation of new facilities at GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC) automotive engineering and design joint venture, the expansion of GM's existing manufacturing joint ventures and the launch of a new financing joint venture.
In addition, GM introduced Saab and rolled out the Cadillac luxury brand in China to expand its footprint into one of the industry's most robust segments. GM and its domestic operations maintain the broadest portfolio of vehicles and brands among global automakers in China. GM's joint ventures currently manufacture mini-vehicles, small cars, lower-medium sedans, upper-medium sedans and executive wagons. GM will add luxury vehicles later this year, when it begins offering Cadillac products assembled at Shanghai GM and imported from North America.
GM also signed agreements earlier in the year to join up with its strategic partner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation Group (SAIC) and their Shanghai GM joint venture to form Shanghai GM Dong Yue Automotive Powertrain Co. Ltd., an engine joint venture in Shandong province, and restructure GM's Jinbei GM Automotive Co. Ltd. joint venture in Liaoning province.
(July 12, 2004)