In an interview with Automotive News, General Motors China chief Matt Tsien explained that GM expects the overall Chinese automotive market to grow to roughly 30 million vehicles per year by 2020, a substantial increase from the 24.6 million new vehicles sold across the industry in 2015.
What’s more, Tsien believes that the market will grow beyond 2020, and that “There will be a point of saturation, but we are probably a decade away.”
In 2015, Chinese auto sales experienced a surprising downturn: new car sales were down every month from April through August as a result of sluggish growth of the country’s gross domestic product and an unpredictable near-term market outlook. Since then, the market has recovered, growing 15 percent year-over-year in June 2016. GM sales were up 11.2 percent to 273,563 units in June 2016, and up 18 percent to 270,529 units in July.
“There is a lot of willingness from a consumer standpoint to spend,” said Tsien. “There is a lot of discretionary income. Stores are busy. Restaurants are busy. Internet shopping is booming.
“We continue to be quite bullish about the growth prospects of the Chinese auto industry. It’s going to continue to grow.”
Still, some economists and industry analysts remain concerned about China’s languid GDP and near-term unpredictability, and how such factors can impact the country’s significant automotive industry.
Interestingly, GM doesn’t see the growth coming from the usual suspects like Shanghai and Beijing, or from the established Buick, Chevrolet or Cadillac brands. Instead, growth will come from totally different geographic areas and brands, an opportunity that GM is well-positioned to capitalize on.