China's GAC Motor said it plans to expand annual vehicle production capacity to 1m units by 2020, from the current 400,000 units, as it targets a stronger role in its domestic and regional vehicle markets.

The company's president and CEO, Wu Song, told local reporters the company aims to fulfill growing demand for high end Chinese passenger vehicles in the region.

The Guangzhou based company reported a 148% rise in sales to 226,000 units in the first eight months of 2016, compared with overall market growth in China of just over 11% in the same period.

The company opened a second assembly plant in Guangzhou in July, targeting fast growing demand for locally branded SUVs which have gained significant market share in the country in the last year at the expense of foreign brands.

GAC recently began construction of a new CNY1.6bn (US$240m) assembly plant in Urumqi, in China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. This facility will have an initial annual capacity of 50,000 Trumpchi-branded SUVs and new energy vehicles, rising to 200,000 units at full capacity.

Here, production will be targeted mainly at growing demand in China's north western provinces and regions around the Silk Road Economic Belt.

Wu also said the company is considering building additional production capacity in southeast Asia, where it sees significant growth potential for Chinese brand cars.