General Motors’ Shanghai partner has said that output at their joint venture will jump over 70% this year, according to the Reuters news agency.

“Market demand for cars is strong,” an executive at Shanghai GM, a 50-50 venture between the two firms, told Reuters, adding: “Our car output will hit 180,000 to 190,000 units, and that will be a rise of over 70% compared to last year.”

According to Reuters, the Economic Information Daily quoted Chen Hong, the chairman of the joint venture, as saying sales are expected to double to 38 billion yuan ($US4.6 billion) in 2003.

But, Reuters noted, GM has a long way to go before catching Volkswagen‘s joint venture, which has between 30 and 40% of the China car market compared with 8 to 9% for the GM partnership.

Reuters noted that GM runs several plants around the country with local partners and, last year, those ventures collectively cranked out 264,101 vehicles, a surge of 325% over 2001.