GM to add 400 dealers in China to grow faster than market

DETROIT (REUTERS) - General Motors Co (GM) will add 400 dealers in China this year as it looks to keep growing faster than China's overall automotive industry, which is expected to grow by 8 per cent this year, the automaker's top executive in that country said on Monday.

GM will push its total auto dealerships in China across all its brands to 4,200 locations this year from 3,800 at the end of 2012, Mr Bob Socia, GM China president, told reporters at the Detroit auto show. The brands sold by GM and its joint ventures in China include Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Opel, Baojun and Wuling.

Sales of passenger cars and commercial vehicles in China should grow 5 per cent to 8 per cent this year, hitting 21 million vehicles in 2013, Mr Socia said. That would be up from 19.4 million in 2012. He also said the Chinese auto market could hit 30 million vehicles by 2020.

Mr Socia said GM wants to grow faster than the market this year, and exports by GM and its joint venture partners should hit 100,000 or more vehicles this year, up from 77,000 last year and 3,000 in 2009.

GM and its Chinese joint ventures sold almost 2.84 million cars and trucks last year, up 11.3 per cent from 2011.

Of its dealer expansion in China, Mr Socia said GM's Cadillac brand will add 40 dealers this year, while the Baojun brand started by the joint venture with SAIC Motor will boost its total by 50. Cadillac and Baojun ended 2012 with 160 and 300 locations, respectively.

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