Boosting its lineup in an increasingly competitive market, General Motors Corp. (GM) announced Tuesday that it would launch a new series of made-in-China Chevrolets next month.
The new small and mid-size models would roll out in late February and would be sold through a network of 100 dealerships to be set up across China to sell and service the vehicles, the world’s largest automaker said in a statement.
GM has invested more than US$2 billion in China since 1998 in joint ventures that now make domestic brands as well as Buick sedans, Chevrolet Blazers, minivans and other models. It claims about an 8 percent share of China’s vehicle market.
GM China expanded its import lineup in 2004 to meet strong demand for premium and luxury vehicles. It introduced the Saab brand in May and Cadillac a month later.
GM has only distributed its Blazer and Spark models under the Chevrolet brand name in China.
The automaker now hopes to expand its presence here by targeting the fast-growing small and mid-size market segments, which account for 70 percent of all auto sales in China, said Joseph Liu, executive director of vehicle sales, service and marketing for General Motors China Group.
“We identified the need to develop Chevrolet into another popular domestic brand alongside Buick,” Liu said in a statement. “As China’s rapidly growing number of vehicle buyers become increasingly diverse, they require brands and products that offer different value propositions to meet their individual needs.”
Liu said the new Chevrolet lineup would be tailored to meet local customer requirements with the expectation that most buyers would be young professionals aged up to 40 buying a car for personal use.
Last summer, GM announced it would spend US$3 billion in China over the next three years in a challenge to rival Volkswagen for dominance of the world’s fastest-growing auto market.
(Shenzhen Daily January 20, 2005)