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GM TO INTRODUCE 25 NEW MODELS IN CHINA

By NBF NEWS
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General Motors Company, the largest foreign automaker in China, plans to introduce 25 new or updated models in the nation by the end of 2011 as it seeks to maintain leadership in the world's biggest auto market.

The models will include the Chevrolet Volt plug-in car in 2011, said the company, which exited from a government-backed bankruptcy in July, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

The Detroit-based carmaker plans to add more hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles within the next five years and increase the use of turbo chargers, direct-injection systems and improved aerodynamics to improve fuel efficiency.

The new models may help GM build on record sales in China, cementing the nation's importance to the carmaker's recovery from bankruptcy. GM boosted Chinese sales 68 per cent to 230,048 vehicles in March, compared with US sales of 188,546.

GM and its local venture partners are 'on track' to sell more than two million vehicles in China this year, four years ahead of schedule, the company said.

China overtook the US as the world's largest auto market last year as government incentives for smaller, more fuel- efficient cars boosted demand.

Industrywide sales in China jumped 76 percent to 3.5 million units during the first quarter, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers said April 9. Rising sales are spurring automakers to add capacity in China, even as the growth rate may slow this year. Deliveries may total as many as 15 million vehicles, Kevin Wale, president of GM's China business, said in January.

Measures including the use of turbo-chargers, direct- injection engines and advanced transmissions will raise fuel efficiency by between seven per cent and nine per cent, GM said in today's statement. Hybrids and start-stop technology will yield additional fuel-economy improvements of five per cent to 15 per cent, it said.

GM holds a 49 per cent stake in Shanghai General Motors, which makes passenger cars, and 34 percent of mini-vehicle producer SAIC-GM-Wuling. SAIC Motor Corporation owns majority stakes in both.

The US and Chinese automakers also cooperate to produce and sell small vehicles in India.