By on January 15, 2012

If I tell you that China will hit 20 million cars this year, you probably think I was drinking. I will tell you no such thing. But what if the chief of GM China says it? As a matter of fact, he just did.

“We think passenger cars will go up 10 per cent and commercial vehicles will go up 5 per cent this year. I think it will nudge 20 million.”

So said Australian ex-pat Kevin Wale to a reporter of the Sydney Morning Herald who had come all the way to the Detroit Motor Show.

If you would have asked me at this time of the year last year, I would have told you that China would go through the never-reached-before 20 million barrier in 2011. After all, 18.6 million cars in 2010 needed just a mere percent growth to be propelled through the 20 million sound barrier. Baby steps by Chinese standards. That record was toast. No sweat at all.

Then, the overall market came to what amounted to a halt. Bigger and pricier cars still sell at a hearty clip. It is the smaller cars and delivery vans that don’t move.

I am worried about that weakness in the commercial segments. It usually presages a recession.

Wale is hedging his bets a bit and warns that “we’ve never been right on a forecast yet. But the demand is still strong, the retail market is still strong and people still want to get into new cars.”

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3 Comments on “GM: China To Break Sound Barrier This Year...”

  • avatar

    China has over 1.5 Billion people. Selling a bunch of cars is going to be a given.


    My solution:

    We need to push our cars as THE COOLEST CARS TO OWN in our films so when Chinese kids grow up, they look at German and Japanese cars and say: “That stuff is boring” and desire our ridiculously high powered, inefficient muscle cars.

    The choice between buying a Charger SRT8 and buying an Audi A7.

  • avatar

    According to Wikipedia:
    ‘Sidney is a town located at the northern end of the Saanich Peninsula, on Vancouver Island in the Canadian province of British Columbia.’

    They may indeed have their own SMH, or ‘Morning Herald’, newspaper. But the article in question hails from the one based in Sydney, Australia. ;)

  • avatar

    Why are you calling a sales figure milestone a “sound barrier”? Why is it a barrier of any kind? Why does this happen at 20M (and what happens after it’s broken)?

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