General Motors said on Thursday it has tacked on an extra shift to its busy plant in Shanghai, raising monthly capacity by 50% in an effort to meet booming car demand, Reuters reported.

The news agency said GM now operates three shifts round the clock to crank out 18,000 vehicles a month, up from 12,000 when the plant ran two shifts, and plans to roll out its new [GM-Daewoo Lacetti-based] Excelle sedan next month.

The increased output would enable the US firm to raise its roughly 8% share of a rapidly expanding market, where car sales are seen surpassing the two million mark this year, Reuter said, noting that rival Volkswagen has about a third of the market.

“The additional shift, which came online in mid-August, will enable Shanghai GM to increase its production by 50% to meet the strong demand for its products, including the new Buick Excelle,” the company reportedly said in a statement.

Reuters said the Excelle – GM’s first foray into what it calls the lower-medium sedan market – will be priced at 149,800 yuan ($US18,100) and 179,800 yuan for the 1.6-litre and 1.8-litre versions, respectively, and the company aims to roll out 35,000 Excelles this year.

Reuters said that, last month, state media said GM would invest two billion yuan in a new plant to double capacity at the five-year-old plant in Shanghai, raising output by an additional 100,000 cars a year but GM has declined to comment on the reports, beyond saying it aimed to set up a new factory in China’s financial stronghold.

“Right now we’re waiting for government approval,” GM spokeswoman Daphne Zheng told Reuters, which noted that the company is also considering assembling at least three of its prestige Cadillac models in Shanghai, initially shipping in semi-finished cars from the United States to China, where final assembly will take place.