China Car Market Raring to Go at Shanghai Auto Show

The Shanghai Auto Show is taking on new significance this year as the Chinese car industry is providing a rare glimmer of opportunity for beleaguered American car makers. is planning to move factories to China, Bloomberg reports:

GM, the biggest overseas automaker in China, boosted sales in the country 38 percent last month as government stimulus measures spurred demand for its minivans. By contrast, the company’s U.S. sales slumped 45 percent on the recession, as it battles to convince the U.S. government that it’s still viable.

The automaker has also delayed expansion of an Indian plant for as long as two years as sales growth there has slowed, Reilly said. The company will seek to turn around sales in Australia and South Korea, he added.

GM is basing its business planning in Asia on the assumption that it will have to finance projects locally, insulating it from possible problems in the U.S., Reilly said.

The Wall Street Journal also reports on the resiliency of the Chinese car market:

Chinese consumers are proving particularly responsive to government stimulus initiatives to boost spending, such as tax cuts and other subsidies on auto purchases.

In March, vehicle sales climbed 5% to a record 1.11 million vehicles, not only benefiting luxury brands like Mercedes and Audi AG, who rang up their highest-ever China sales that month, but also boosting struggling global carmakers like General Motors Corp.

In contrast, March sales fell 30% in the U.S. and 32% in Japan.

GM’s Mr. Reilly said GM needs to be an “industry leader” in China if it wants to remain a leader in the global auto marketplace.

Meanwhile, chose Shanghai as the place to unveil its first luxury sedan. From the New York Times:

Not one of the models to be unveiled at the Shanghai auto show, which starts on Monday, has drawn more discussion in the than Porsche’s entry, the Panamera. It is Porsche’s first sedan after more than six decades of manufacturing sports coupes and, since 2002, the Cayenne car-based sport utility vehicle.

Klaus Berning, Porsche’s executive vice president for sales and marketing, acknowledged that the timing for entering a new market segment was difficult but said the company had received enough orders that it expected to meet its goal of selling 20,000 a year. “The current orders already make us very comfortable and optimistic,” he said.

See also from the New York Times: “China’s Influence Grows Along With Its Car Sales
From Al Jazeera:

April 20, 2009 11:13 AM
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