2009 has gone down as the year in which the Chinese market purchased more automobiles than the American market, and a top GM executive thinks that soon will be the day when the company sells more cars in China than at home. Tim Lee, GM’s president of international operations, based out of Shanghai, says that that point could very well come sooner than later, as domestic sales continually drop and Chinese sales increase year after year.
With 1.83 million vehicles sold in China last year, and 2.07 million sold in the U.S., the gap is rapidly closing, as GM leads the Chinese market with a 13.4% market share, up from 11.3% in 2008.
To perform better in a foreign market than in ones own home market is not uncommon in the auto industry; Toyota and Honda do it every year.
With a greater population than the United States and booming pace of economic growth, China is an extremely dynamic and robust market, and will remain so regardless of the state of the U.S. market, and GM needs to focus on the long-term, which inevitably includes China as the top auto market.
Despite these elements, it will still be a shocking day when GM outsells China than the U.S.; five years ago GM sold less than 500,000 cars in China while selling 4.6 million in the U.S.
– By: Stephen Calogera