General Motors CEO Mary Barra predicts sales to boost in China, even if the world’s largest auto market is currently at a slow pace.
The trend of the Chinese auto market is critical for the auto industry, as it generates the biggest sales volumes for most of the carmakers. The world’s largest auto market “is going to be more volatile, but we still believe over the long term the market will have substantial growth,” General Motors CEO Mary Barra told reporters at a Detroit Auto Show event. GM and its joint ventures sold 3,612,635 vehicles in China in 2015, which was up 5.2 percent from the previous high in 2014. The Chinese market is expected to show 3 percent growth in 2015, while, according to an industry association, auto sales are expected to rise 5 percent to 7 percent in 2016.
The Buick Envision crossover will become this year the first General Motors model imported from China to be sold in the United States. The model is a necessary addition to the Buick range, as this segment is rapidly growing around the world. If the biggest Detroit automaker sold about 147,000 Envision crossovers in China last year, Barra said that in 2016 China sales of the new crossover will be much higher than those for the US market.
Karl Brauer, analyst at Kelley Blue Book, said the Envision is only the first of what will become a growing number of Chinese-made vehicles exported to the United States. “Most consumers are not hung up on, if not completely oblivious to, where the car is made,” Brauer said. “At the end of the day if it is a Buick-badged vehicle that we really like as a domestic buyer, we’re going to buy it.”