General Motors said it expected the automobile industry in the Middle
East to show growth that is sustainable, but at a slower rate than in
the last few years, hurt by uncertainty and political crisis in markets
such as Egypt and Syria.
General Motors Co plans to boost China sales this year by as much as 10
percent and keep pace with the country’s overall auto market for the
rest of the decade, the new chief of the company’s China operations said
in an interview.
The U.S. automaker temporarily closed its Egyptian assembly plant
outside of Cairo last month, and shut its local office, after deadly
clashes between security forces and supporters of ousted president
Matt Tsien, a Chinese-American, engineer-turned-executive with 37 years
experience with GM , said his mandate is not to radically change
direction, but instead is one of continuity in order to sustain GM’s
“profitable growth” in the world’s biggest auto market.
It later reopened them but was still monitoring the situation closely.
Tsien plans to achieve the objectives in part by focusing on China’s
increasing appetite for SUVs and luxury cars.
“For the entire Middle East market we see growth continuing…maybe not
at the rates at which we been growing over the past few years of 7 to 9
percent but still a sustainable growth at 4 to 5 percent,” John
Stadwick, president and managing director of GM in the Middle East told
reporters at a media gathering.
GM will also offer a range of affordable products in what Tsien
described as a multilayered mega market, with maturing markets like
Beijing and Shanghai and still-emerging auto demand in smaller inland
cities all packed in a large geographical area roughly the size of the
A growing youth population with rising incomes, and high oil prices mean
growth would continue despite deteriorating conditions, he added.
Tsien said GM expects China’s overall vehicle market to grow 7 percent
to 10 percent this year compared with 2013, roughly in line with
Syria may face military action by the United States and France while
street fights continue to rage in Egypt after the military ousted a
Muslim Brotherhood government in a violent coup in July.
Last year, China’s overall sales rose 13.9 percent to 21.98 million
Stadwick said GM’s Egyptian business would still exceed the sales
In that relatively strong market environment, GM is “looking to at least
track and maybe outpace (overall market growth) by a little bit,” the
53-year-old executive told Reuters.
“We do see a downturn in our regional business so far. We’ll get double
digit growth (at GM in the Middle East) year-over-year,” added Stadwick.
He gave no comparison for GM sales in the region.
“We feel fairly optimistic about 2014.”
The U.S. carmaker has shifted focus from its home base and is eyeing a
larger presence in emerging markets as well as the Middle East.
Sales by GM and its joint ventures in China last year rose 11.4 percent
to 3.16 million vehicles.
GM’s Chevrolet gets about 10 percent of market share in the Middle East
and the company is looking to invest in the region to grow this share,
Tsien – named president of GM China late last year when his predecessor
Bob Socia decided to retire – is the first executive of Chinese origin
to lead GM’s operations here.
“In the Middle East there are a million people coming into market every
year, 60 percent under 30 years of age. That’s why this is an invest
market. General Motors is going to invest here,” said Stadwick.
The automaker began developing its business aggressively in the
mid-1990s when it formed a manufacturing and sales joint venture with
state-owned automaker SAIC Motor Corp in Shanghai
About 65 percent of GM’s business comes from outside the United States
with biggest markets being Brazil, China, Mexico and Russia.汽车配件
After almost two decades, GM’s overall annual sales in China account for
roughly a third of the Detroit automaker’s global volume.
During that period, Tsien was part of the team that crafted GM China’s
initial five-year business plan. From 2009 through 2012, he also managed
a micromini commercial vehicle division called SAIC-GM-Wuling in
southern China. The division grew rapidly during that period.
Tsien said his mandate as GM’s new China chief is to “continue with our
partnerships and continue with profitable growth in this country.”