BEIJING -- Output at General Motors' main automaking venture in China will jump more than 35 percent to over 150,000 cars in 2003, the venture's president, Chen Hong, said on Friday.
The Shanghai GM venture between the world's largest automaker and its Chinese partner, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp (SAIC), posted sales -- which tend to be very close to output in the world's fastest growing auto market -- of 110,763 in 2002.
"Our aim this year is to produce more than 150,000 units," Chen said. He did not elaborate.
Car sales growth is expected to slow this year from 2002's surprisingly strong 56 percent, but analysts say the market will still grow steadily because of the rising incomes of Chinese families after years of robust economic growth.
"This rate is still very fast," Chen told Reuters on the sidelines of a meeting of the National People's Congress, China's parliament. "We have a commitment to launch one new model per year."
But rivalry is intensifying as global automakers rush to set up shop or expand capacity in a market where car sales cracked the one million mark for the first time last year.
Dominant automaker Volkswagen AG said last month its mainland sales could expand 17 percent in 2003 -- at the low end of analyst and industry expectations of growth of between 15 and 30 percent for this year.