With a population of 1.6 billion and an insatiable appetite for automobiles, China seems like as good a place as any for GM to increase its global automotive presence. With more and more automakers turning their attention (and funding) to China, however, GM's exponential growth since 2002 will likely begin to stabilize. For now, however, China is to GM what the US was back in the 60s and 70s.
First Global Automaker to Sell 1 Million Vehicles in Single Year
Shanghai – General Motors became the first global automaker to sell 1 million vehicles in China in a single year today when GM China Group President and Managing Director Kevin Wale handed the keys to a Buick Park Avenue to Mr. Zhang Jianping at Shanghai GM's corporate showroom in Shanghai.
"Becoming the first global manufacturer to sell 1 million vehicles in China is a demonstration of the strength of our product, our people and our partnerships," said GM Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner. "China is a very important market, and we're extremely proud of the contribution we have been able to make to the growth and development of its automotive industry. It's been an extremely beneficial relationship for both sides."
GM sales in China first surpassed 100,000 units annually back in 2002. Since then, GM sales have enjoyed steady growth, topping 500,000 annual sales in 2005, thanks to its growing lineup of brands and vehicles. The milestone million mark featured GM's best-known and strongest brand in China, Buick.
"I'm extremely honored to be the one millionth customer in 2007 for General Motors," Mr. Zhang said. "This is my second Buick and I appreciate the performance, safety and durability of Buick. In addition, I was very satisfied with the fuel economy of my first car. After comparing other products in the premium segment for my next car, it made perfect sense to choose the Park Avenue."
"From day one, GM and our partners have been committed to continually rolling out new and upgraded models, with specific engineering done in China for China to satisfy the needs of Chinese vehicle buyers across the country," Wagoner added.
This year, GM and its joint venture partners have begun offering several new products, including the Cadillac SLS luxury business sedan, Buick Park Avenue premium sedan, Chevrolet Captiva SUV, all-new Chevrolet Epica intermediate sedan and Wuling Hong Tu minivan.
According to Wagoner, reaching the new sales mark in 2007 is especially significant as it is taking place in a year in which GM has celebrated several milestones in China. Both Shanghai GM, the automaker's flagship manufacturing joint venture, and the Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center (PATAC), GM's engineering and design joint venture with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), marked their 10th anniversaries earlier this year. SAIC-GM-Wuling, GM's mini-vehicle joint venture, also celebrated its fifth anniversary.