The American automaker announced its plans to step up promotions of the Chevrolet brand in China and bolster the line-up of GM’s sport utility vehicles in order to defend its lead in the world’s largest auto market.
Chevy sales growth in China this year has lagged behind the industry’s 14 %, while SUV deliveries have surged 45 %, according to data from the company and China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Boosting Chevrolet sales in GM’s largest market is crucial to Chief Executive Officer Dan Akerson’s goal of establishing the brand as the automaker’s global volume unit.
“We got still a lot of mother brand-building to do for Chevrolet and we will resource that appropriately and get that job done,” China Chairman Tim Lee, who was appointed to the newly created role in August, said in an interview in Shanghai last week. “If there were one thing that I wish we had done different, I wish we had a better offer” of smaller SUV models.
“It’s a brand that has a total history in the country of about seven or eight years, so based on that relatively short time in the marketplace, our brand awareness is good, our product consideration is good,” Lee said. “But can it be better? I guess.”
Though GM was the top-selling foreign automaker in China last year, Volkswagen AG has pulled ahead in deliveries during the first three quarters. Chevy deliveries rose 3.3 % to 472,561 units in the country, compared with the 606,330 Buicks sold. The automaker also counts the Wuling brand of mini-commercial vehicles and low-cost Baojun nameplate produced at its local joint ventures among its stable of China marques.
To spur demand, the automaker will introduce a new generation of its Chevy Cruze compact — currently starting at 108,900 yuan ($17,900) — next year, said Bob Socia, GM China president. GM sells eight Chevy models in China, all sedans except for the Captiva SUV, which retails from 219,800 yuan.
The company is also working on building up its luxury Cadillac brand’s sales in China by producing the ATS locally next year, Socia said. GM said last month that it will start sales of imported models of the ATS this quarter.
) - Monday, October 28th, 2013 - filed under Buick
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Discuss: GM plans China push as VW threatens its lead