As China’s motor industry continues to consolidate GM may make acquisitions there, its chief executive has said.

Speaking to Reuters ahead of the Shanghai motor show, GM CEO Rick Wagoner said his company was interested in maybe buying smaller local operations in China as a tool to expanding in the world’s fastest-growing car market.

“We’ve been playing in the consolidation business (in China) and it worked great for SGM [the joint venture with Shanghai Automotive], and we’d be interested in more,” Wagoner was reported to have said.

“I think over time there’s going to be more prospects because clearly there are a lot of manufacturers here that are small volume. It’s inevitable there will be consolidation and we want to be part of that,” he told the news agency, adding that nothing imminent was in the pipeline.

Reuters noted that GM has forecast its 2007 China sales will grow by over a fifth from 876,747 vehicles last year, as it rolls out new models to attract increasingly affluent buyers in the world’s fourth-largest economy.

Shanghai GM sales rose 26.5% in January-March, according to the report, and GM plans to launch about 10 new or upgraded models this year in China where it is investing around $US1bn a year in its biggest market outside the United States.