"There is a potential for capacity issues as we go forward," GM China President Matt Tsien conceded on the sidelines of October's Global Automotive Forum in this central China manufacturing hub.
But like many execs, Tsien predicted it would be rival companies feeling the squeeze, not his own.
"Our investment, in view of the potential and the growth of this market, we believe is well-placed," he maintained.
China's once blistering sales pace is cooling rapidly.
For the first 10 months, total vehicle sales rose 7 percent to 18.99 million units, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said. That compares with a 14 percent gain for all of 2013.
Sales rose just 3 percent in September -- their smallest gain in 19 months -- and 3 percent again in October.
The slide to single digits may cause headaches for an auto industry that long has invested on forecasts for headier growth. But international brands still believe in the promise of long-term expansion. And they feel better suited to weather interim slowdowns than their weaker domestic competitors.
"It's a kind of build-it-they-will-come attitude," said James Chao, director of IHS Automotive Asia-Pacific advisory services.
To be sure, slowing sales at a time of rising capacity is an issue, especially for domestic brands such as Geely, Chery and Great Wall. Those companies are losing share to international brands and are hobbled with lower capacity utilization rates.
Capacity utilization stands around 65 percent for domestic brands and 85 percent for international ones, Chao reckons.
But the overall trend in China is discouraging for everyone. Industrywide utilization in China stood at 91 percent in 2010. But it is expected to drop to 68 percent next year and hover around 70 percent through 2020, according to IHS Automotive.
In the United States, by contrast, the trend is the opposite. Utilization was 69 percent in 2010 and is forecast to be 95 percent next year and stay above 90 percent through 2020.
"China is plagued with excessive production capacity," says Zhang Xiyong, general manager of Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Corp., or BAIC, which partners with Hyundai and Daimler.