BEIJING -- General Motors expects to start its car financing business in China by September or October, helping to boost the U.S. auto giant's sales in one of its fastest growing markets, an executive said Tuesday.
"We hope we might be operational by the end of the third quarter or the early fourth quarter," Christian Weidemann, GM China's director of financial services, told an auto summit in Beijing.
China issued rules last October to allow carmakers to offer credit to their customers, and GM said it was the first foreign car company to apply when it asked for approval in late December.
"It didn't help us really, because we are still waiting for our license and we probably still have some time to go," Weidemann said.
"If you ask me again in a month, I will probably tell you we will get approval later," Weidemann said with a chuckle.
Weidemann said fewer than 20 percent of new cars sold in China were financed, with large state banks dominating the market.
In 10 years, up to half of Chinese car buyers would be financing their purchases, but the industry still needed a national credit rating system and procedures for reclaiming cars that were defaulted on, he said.
The stakes are huge in China, where car sales nearly doubled last year, making the country the focus of foreign automakers seeking higher growth.
Other foreign carmakers such as Toyota have also applied to set up financing arms in China.
GM said on Monday that it would invest another $3 billion in China over three years to more than double capacity.