GM Looks To China To Boost Car Sales

General Motors set a July sales record in China. That country is already the most important auto market in the world. It could be where GM maintains global dominance.

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General Motors is selling a lot of cars in China. The company set a sales record there in July.

NPR's Sonari Glinton reports China is in the front line in the battle for automotive global dominance.

SONARI GLINTON, BYLINE: In China this year, forecasters predict nearly 20 million cars will be sold. In the U.S., the bet is we'll sell about 15 and a half million.

Mike Wall is with IHS Automotive.

MILE WALL: Yeah, you really can't overstate the importance of China in the overall global automotive landscape.

Wall says General Motors has an advantage over many other carmakers in China.

This is something that GM's been sort of nurturing over the years. It hasn't always while it's been; it has had its ups and downs.

GLINTON: GM has recently been on an upswing. This summer, it edged out Volkswagen for the top spot in China. And part of the reason GM and Volkswagen do so well is they started early and were able to help shape automotive tastes.

WALL: You know, it's really been a focus on some core brands for GM. And ironically enough, the Buick brand - which has been somewhat maligned too in the U.S. - is very well-regarded over in China. And they've done just a fantastic job targeting the market with very attractive vehicles that fit the taste and desires of the Chinese consumer.

GLINTON: Wall says the Chinese consumer will only grow more important. By the end of this decade, he says the market for cars in China will be almost double what it is in the U.S.

Sonari Glinton, NPR News.

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