General Motors will export its Cadillac CTS to China within a year, and if sales are favourable the car maker could begin manufacturing the luxury sedan there, a senior GM executive said on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

“We’re going to launch the car and see how volume progresses,” GM Asia-Pacific president Fritz Henderson told Reuters before a presentation to reporters.

According to Reuters, Henderson noted that BMW will begin manufacturing cars in China later this year, and said there had been speculation that DaimlerChrysler could also assemble Mercedes vehicles there.

“I wouldn’t rule it out,” he added when asked about local production of Cadillacs, Reuters said, noting that Henderson said he expected initial sales for the CTS to run at an annual rate of around 1,000.

Reuters noted that China is one of the few overseas markets where GM plans to sell a number of different brands – it already builds Buicks and Chevrolets in China, and also plans to export Saabs there though Henderson said there were no plans to assemble Saab vehicles in China.

According to Reuters, GM expects sales of cars and light trucks in China to grow by more than three million units by 2012, the largest growth of any country in the world.

Henderson told Reuters GM would not hesitate to add capacity to keep pace with growth in China. “We will put the capacity in, hopefully well in advance of today’s market,” he said.

Reuters noted that Henderson said GM’s market share in China slipped to 6.8% in the first quarter from 7.8 percent last year, due to some quality problems with the Buick Regal, but GM has fixed the problems with a supplier, and expects to grow its market share.

The growth of China’s automotive market allows the country to become a source of automotive parts for vehicles assembled back in North America, Henderson told Reuters, adding that some vehicles that are planned for launch in 2005 and 2006 will use some parts from China.