GUANGZHOU SHOW: SAIC expects to double sales this year and next

By just-auto.com editorial team | 23 November 2009

China's biggest carmaker, SAIC, expects to sell about 90,000 of its own-brand vehicles this year, nearly double the original target, and will double that again to around 180,000 in 2010, president Chen Hong said at the Guangzhou motor show on Monday.

"I expect that the auto market will continue growing at a fairly rapid level," said Chen. "We are full of confidence for 2010."

Much of the company's growth has come from China's smaller cities, he added.

"This year, car sales in third- and fourth-tier cities have significantly outpaced the growth in first- and second-tier cities where a car is no longer a luxury item," said Chen.

Chen said the company forecast sales of 2.65m vehicles this year, adding that he expected the Chinese government to continue incentive policies to boost the market.

In 2007 SAIC - one of GM's China partners - successfully launched the Roewe range of saloons developed from technologies acquired from MG Rover. From January to June, sales of Roewe and MG cars jumped 276% to more than 40,000.

To date, SAIC has sold its own-brand vehicles domestically, but chairman Hu Maoyuan hasn't ruled out exporting Roewe cars to Europe or elsewhere eventually.

Chen said that in the company's next five year plan it would make more than 500,000 own-brand vehicles.

"We do not dare to say that we are very successful with our own-brand cars," he said. "This is a difficult path and there is lots of work to do."

Chen said that SAIC also planned to begin assembling the MG 6 in the UK by the end of 2010. SAIC become the owner of MG Rover's 10,000-unit Longbridge plant in Birmingham after a merger with the much smaller Nanjing Automobile Group in late 2007.