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GM to introduce 25 new, updated models in China

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GM to introduce 25 new, updated models in China

April 11, 2010 - 11:24 pm ET

SHANGHAI (Bloomberg) -- General Motors Co., the largest foreign automaker in China, plans to introduce 25 new or updated models in the nation by the end of 2011 as it seeks to maintain leadership in the world's biggest auto market.

The models will include the Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric car in 2011, GM said. The automaker plans to add more hybrids and electric vehicles within the next five years and increase the use of turbochargers, direct-injection systems and improved aerodynamics to boost fuel efficiency.

The new models may help GM build on record sales in China, cementing the nation's importance to the automaker's recovery from bankruptcy. GM boosted Chinese sales 68 percent to 230,048 vehicles in March, compared with U.S. sales of 188,546.

GM and its local venture partners are “on track” to sell more than 2 million vehicles in China this year, four years ahead of schedule, the company said.

China overtook the United States as the world's largest auto market last year as government incentives for smaller, more fuel- efficient cars boosted demand.

Rising sales

Industrywide sales in China jumped 76 percent to 3.5 million units during the first quarter, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said Friday. Rising sales are spurring automakers to add capacity in China, even as the growth rate may slow this year. Deliveries may total as many as 15 million vehicles, Kevin Wale, president of GM's China business, said in January.

Measures including the use of turbochargers, direct-injection engines and advanced transmissions will raise fuel efficiency from 7 percent to 9 percent, GM said in a statement. Hybrids and start-stop technology will yield additional fuel-economy improvements of 5 percent to 15 percent.

GM holds a 49 percent stake in Shanghai General Motors, which makes passenger cars, and 34 percent of mini-vehicle producer SAIC-GM-Wuling. SAIC Motor Corp. owns majority stakes in both.

The U.S. and Chinese automakers also cooperate to produce and sell small vehicles in India.

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