BEIJING: International automotive companies have reported double-digit sales growth in China during 2012 and expect 2013 to be another successful year.
US automaker General Motors saw sales rise 11.3% to 2.84m vehicles. The majority of this came from joint ventures with SAIC Motor Corp, which contributed 1.33m units, and FAW Group, with 1.45m units.
Bob Socia, head of GM's China division, said: "We benefited from a broad portfolio of models that are meeting the diverse needs of vehicle buyers across China."
Meanwhile, German manufacturer Volkswagen said its sales last year from its joint ventures were up 24.5%, reaching a total of 2.58m vehicles. This compares with a rise of 17.7% in 2011.
Jaguar Land Rover, the luxury vehicle manufacturer owned by Indian group Tata, registered particularly rapid growth, with sales up 71% to 71,940 units. As a result, China is now the group's largest national market and there are plans to expand vehicle production there.
Luxury carmaker Daimler saw sales grow only 1.5% but a recent shakeup of its operations there is intended to "set the foundation for a new phase of growth", according to CEO Dieter Zetsche, speaking to press before the Detroit auto show.
Zetsche expects the auto sector in China to benefit from an economy expanding at 7-8%, with the "top end premium segment being rather above this growth". The company is also considering setting up a manufacturing presence in China for a range of compact cars.
A total of 19.3m vehicles were sold in China during 2012, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, up 4.3% from a year earlier.
Passenger car sales, which accounted for 80% of the total, grew faster than the overall market, at +7.5% annually.
Data sourced from Economic Times/Livemint/Wall Street Journal/FT; additional content by Warc staff