GM preps Chinese brand

24 November 2010

BEIJING: General Motors, the US automaker, will launch a new brand developed specifically for China next year, in an effort to boost its position in the world's largest car market.

The company intends to introduce the Baojun marque, made through a joint venture with SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling Motors in the first half of 2011.

It hopes to establish a chain of more than 100 dealerships across the country, emphasising smaller cities, where domestic operators such as Chery currently enjoy a leading role.

"We will set up a new sales network dedicated to Baojun," Matthew Tsien, evp at GM-SAIC-Wuling, told Reuters.

"We have a staged plan for Baojun dealers. Obviously we will grow as the portfolio grows and as the volume of sales grows, but initially will probably be in the hundred-plus range in terms of dealer numbers."

Going forward, GM's local unit, in which it holds a 44% stake, should enhance its stable by adding a wide variety of models.

The US multinational has predicted that Chinese sales would rise by between 10% and 15% in 2011.

"The underlying strength of the Chinese vehicle market is very strong," said Kevin Wale, GM's China president.

"Our target each year is to grow in line with the market."

Data sourced from Reuters/Bloomberg; additional content by Warc staff