Car firms see China as road ahead
Published 19/04/2011 | 11:46
Global car makers have unveiled ambitious expansion plans for China, targeting the country's newly-prosperous drivers.
Nissan plans to increase sales by about 15pc to 1.15 million vehicles this year, said chief executive Carlos Ghosn as the company unveiled the new Tiida saloon, one of a series of world premieres at Shanghai's auto show.
China is the biggest market by number of vehicles sold and is the biggest for General Motors, Volkswagen, Nissan and other major brands.
Manufacturers are looking to China to drive future sales as growth slows in Western markets, and producers are creating models aimed at China's fast-growing population of car buyers.
"We are paying close attention to what they want and what they need," Mr Ghosn said. .
GM said it plans to double the number of cars it sells in China to five million by 2015. GM China president Kevin Wale called the target "ambitious" and "aggressive" but he said he was optimistic it could be achieved because of low vehicle ownership rates and a strong economy.
The company will introduce 60 new or upgraded models in China over the next five years, many aimed at newly middle class drivers.
In a sign of China's importance to GM, the company chose the Shanghai show for the world premier of its best-selling Malibu mid-sized saloon, which it plans to sell in nearly 100 countries.
Ford announced plans to launch 15 new vehicles in China by 2015 and double the number of dealerships as it seeks to gain more market share in China. The company currently has 340 dealers in China.
Meanwhile,Rolls-Royce announced plans to expand its dealership network to cater to more of the super-rich Chinese entrepreneurs. The company said it is opening new dealerships in the cities of Chongqing, Tianjin and Wuhan, bringing the number of showrooms in China to 11, the second-highest amount after the US