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USA: GM China exports to increase - report

By just-auto.com editorial team | 22 October 2002

General Motors expects to export more vehicles from its joint venture plants in China, but China will not serve as a major base for the sale of new cars and trucks to the rest of the world, GM's head of its Chinese operations said, according to Reuters.

GM already exports about 100 Shanghai-made Buick GL8 minivans to the Philippines each month for sale under the Chevrolet brand, Reuters said, adding that GM is considering also shipping the left-hand drive GL8 to Japan to sell in low volumes and is discussing with Taiwan to open its market to Chinese-made vehicles.

However, GM's highly-profitable GM China unit has no plans to export vehicles to Europe or North America, Phil Murtaugh, chief executive officer of GM China, told Reuters.

"I don't think China as a whole is going to be a major exporter because of domestic demand," Murtaugh told Reuters. "The opportunities in the domestic market are going to be more than adequate to keep us busy for a long time."

According to Reuters, Murtaugh said that exporting vehicles in low volumes will help sales within China, by proving to Chinese consumers that domestic-made vehicles can compete with the best in the world.

"My export strategy at this point is driven by domestic issues," he said.

Murtaugh told Reuters that sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles in China is expected to grow to 3.4 million units this year, far about GM's original forecast of about 2.4 million.

China will become the world's second largest vehicle market, surpassing Japan, by 2010, and could pass the United States by 2025, Murtaugh told Reuters.

According to Reuters, GM China expects its sales to nearly double this year to about 115,000 units, up from 58,000 in 2001, due to strong sales of the Buick Sail and the Buick S-RV small cars.