Tuesday, July 17, 2012

GM to Add 600 China Dealerships

BEIJING—General Motors Co. GM +1.14% plans to add 600 dealerships in China this year, about a 20% increase, as the auto maker looks to bolster its presence here amid growing competition and an economic-growth slowdown.
Chief Executive Dan Akerson on Monday outlined steps GM is taking to boost sales and market share in China, where it is the largest foreign auto maker.
The addition of 600 dealerships would bring the company's dealer network in China to 3,500 stores, up from 2,900 at the end of 2011. At that size, China's dealers would begin to rival the company's U.S. network of 4,400.
GM is adding new models and factory capacity and expanding a technology center near its China headquarters in Shanghai, which will soon be its second-largest global development center. The largest is in Warren, Mich., near its Detroit headquarters.
Like GM, many of the world's major auto makers are expanding in China, concentrating on a market expected to grow to more than 30 million vehicle sales by the end of the decade from 18.5 million last year.
But China auto sales fell 2% last year after a stretch of explosive growth, raising questions about demand.
Mr. Akerson said he is confident the market will grow over the long term.
"If you didn't believe in this country and its growth potential, you'd have feet of clay—we don't," he said, speaking to reporters at the Beijing auto show.

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