General Motors Co. is planning to accelerate promotions of the Chevrolet brand in China as well as boost its SUV lineup as it seeks to defend its sales lead in the country. GM China chairman Tim Lee remarked to Bloomberg in an interview that they still have "a lot of mother brand-building to do for Chevrolet," adding that they "will resource that appropriately and get that job done."
He added that he wishes GM had "a better offer" of smaller SUV models in China. Boosting Chevrolet sales in China is crucial to the goal of GM chief executive Dan Akerson to transform the brand into the carmaker's global volume marque. Chevrolet's sales growth in China -- at 3.3% to 472,561 units -- this year still lags behind the auto industry's 14%.
The carmaker, however, saw its SUV deliveries in country soar 45%, according to data from GM and China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Lee remarked that Chevrolet is a brand that has up to eight years of history in China, which means that based on that relatively short time in the marketplace, "brand awareness is good" and "product consideration is good."
He, however, said, that things can be better. GM was the top-selling foreign carmaker in China in 2012, but VW is closing in to capture that crown based on sales in the first three quarters. GM sold 472,561 Chevrolets and 606,330 Buicks in China in the first nine months of 2013. GM also considers the Wuling brand and the Baojun nameplate -- all built at its local joint ventures -- as part of its Chinese lineup.