General Motors Co. foresees that its sales in China may rise at the low end of an earlier estimate after a slowdown in commercial vehicle demand. The company is the largest overseas vehicle manufacturer in the country.
Industry sales are forecasted to increase around 10 percent this year as deliveries of mini-commercial vehicles drop, according to Kevin Wale, who is the president of GM's China business.
The latest forecast compares with his estimate last November for a gain of 10 to 15 percent. He stated that the company’s objective is to always increase with the market and exceed it “by a little bit.”
The vehicle sales in China have slowed from the record 32 percent gain in 2010 after the government imposed ownership restrictions to discourage traffic congestion and phased out purchasing incentives.
In 2009, China took the place of the U.S. as the biggest vehicle market in the world. The sales of GM increased 10 percent in June from a year earlier, after declining in the last two months while customers bought more Buick and Chevrolet passenger vehicles.
GM’s minivan venture with SAIC Motor Corp., which is the SAIC-GM-Wuling Automotive Co., experienced 11 percent drop in sales last month. Industry-wide car sales widened 3.4 percent to 9.3 million vehicles in the first half of the year, as disclosed by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers on July 8.
The association’s head of statistics department, Zhu Yiping, further disclosed that vehicle sales for the entire year may rise around 5 percent, which is down from the group's earlier estimate of 10 percent to 15 percent growth, due to the lower commercial vehicle demand.