Cracking the Japanese market once meant do-or-die for US car makers hoping to succeed in Asia, but with China's car market now exploding, that's all changed, Dow Jones said.

"Do we have to sell cars in Japan to be successful in Asia? No longer the case," General Motors' chief financial officer John Devine reportedly said on Tuesday.

"Today the focus of General Motors is not selling cars in Japan. It's selling cars in China, getting into Korea, selling cars in Thailand, selling cars over time in India," he told Dow Jones.

Dow Jones noted that GM has tried for years to sell more of its cars in Japan, but, along with other foreign car makers, hasn't had much success - in the six months to September, for instance, the number of imported vehicles sold in Japan came to a mere 7% of the sales of domestic vehicle sales by Japanese car makers.

Devine told Dow Jones his company hopes to sell more cars in Japan but that he didn't expect US and European car makers to make any major breakthroughs, given local companies' strong grip on the market.

"The Japanese companies have very strong position here on distribution and product and I don't see that changing," he reportedly said.

Dow Jones said Japan's GM's strategy now is to strengthen its ties with local companies, including Subaru maker Fuji Heavy Industries, Suzuki and Isuzu.

"Will we sell more cars in Japan? I think so, but in terms of the top focus for General Motors - and I think this is true for other companies: The other markets in Asia offer significant opportunities for us and we're going to go where the opportunity lies," Devine told Dow Jones.