Global automakers may be hurting from a worldwide slump in sales but in China, they see a bright beacon of hope.
GM is staring at the abyss in Detroit and is pleading for a US government bailout, but at the 6th Guangzhou International Auto Show which opened Wednesday, the US carmaker and its local joint ventures are exhibiting 24 models - with the Chevrolet Cruze, Buick Enclave and Cadillac CTS-V making their China debut.
|Designer Chelsia Lau poses with the new Ford Fiesta four door at the 6th Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong province November 18, 2008. [Agencies]
"The vehicles on display are part of a product offensive that will see us roll out an unprecedented number of new and upgraded models over the coming two years," GM's China chief Kevin Wale said.
The company's China sales grew by 10.2 percent year-on-year to 830,480 vehicles in the first nine months of this year.
Kenneth Hsu, spokesman for Ford China, said the US auto giant's financial woes will not affect its expansion strategy in China.
"We will continue to introduce new products and invest more in China with profits from our local operations," Hsu said.
Ford will produce its all-new Fiesta subcompact at its joint venture in Nanjing from the first quarter of 2009.
Ford's Swedish premium brand Volvo is displaying its new long-wheelbase S80 sedan, specially designed for the Chinese market, at the annual auto show. The model will be built in China next year to compete with the Audi A6 and the BMW 5 series.
GM, Ford and Chrysler are lobbying the US Congress for a US$25-billion bailout package amid the biggest plunge in vehicle sales in North America in more than two decades.
China's vehicle market, the second-largest in the world, has slowed this year as a result of an economic slowdown and high fuel prices. Sales of domestically-made vehicles rose by 11.1 percent to 7.94 million units from January to October. Last year, vehicle sales in China surged by 22 percent to 8.8 million units.