GM to expand China presence - East Valley Tribune: Business

GM to expand China presence

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Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2004 5:46 am | Updated: 5:36 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

SHANGHAI, China - Signaling its confidence in the booming Chinese economy, General Motors Corp. said Monday it plans to spend $3 billion in China over the next three years in a challenge to rival Volkswagen for dominance of the world’s fastest-growing auto market.

GM, the world’s biggest automaker, said it will build new facilities to more than double its manufacturing capacity, introduce new vehicles and set up an auto financing venture with its Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp.

‘‘Success in China is crucial to GM’s global success,’’ Phil Murtaugh, chairman and chief executive of General Motors China Group, said in a statement.

GM has invested more than $2 billion since 1998 in joint ventures that now make domestic brands as well as Buick sedans, Chevrolet Blazers, minivans and other models. It claims about an 8 percent share of China’s vehicle market.

It joins other automakers pouring billions of dollars into new ventures as they try to keep up with demand from newly affluent Chinese consumers: total vehicle sales soared 75 percent last year.

‘‘The problem for foreign automakers is a lack of capacity. They’re struggling to keep up with demand,’’ said Yale Zheng, an auto industry analyst at CSM Asia Corp.

GM still trails behind Volkswagen, which entered the China market in 1984 and is the country’s leading foreign brand, with a 38 percent market share. Shanghai’s taxi fleet is almost entirely Volkswagen Santana sedans, though Buicks are making up a growing share of vehicles on the city’s jam-packed streets.

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