General Motors expects competitive pricing for its electric Chevrolet Volt in China as it hopes to gain a foothold in China's fledgling environmentally friendly car industry with the highly anticipated car.
Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China, said the launch of Chevrolet Volt, expected in the second half of 2011, is key to the Detroit-based carmaker's broader strategy to grow its electric car business in China after Beijing unveiled subsidy measures for the sector.
Wale said the selling price of Chevrolet Volt in China will only be unveiled when it is officially launched.
I believe the pricing will be competitive, he told a news conference in Shanghai on Tuesday.
In July, GM said its electric Chevrolet Volt will be sold in the United States at $41,000 -- $8,000 more than its nearest competitor, the Nissan Leaf.
The U.S. automaker expects to produce 10,000 Volts for the 2011 model year and about 30,000 for 2012.
China will spend more than 100 billion yuan ($14.70 billion) to subsidize the electric car industry over the next 10 years, local media reported.
China is the country that needs to move to electrification more than any other country and we know the government wants to move to electrification so we want to participate in that movement, Wale said.
However, the Chevrolet Volt will likely face fierce competition in the domestic market where smaller rivals are making and selling similar products at a much lower price.
Chinese carmaker BYD, backed by U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett, said it plans to export large quantities of its E6 electric car in the United States where it will be competing head on with the likes of Nissan's Leaf and GM's Volt.
Despite rising competition, Wale said GM China has not sacrificed its profitability for sales growth.
It's our responsibility to be successful in China, successful means to grow volume in China, and successful means to generate profitability for our shareholders and to generate enough cash to be reinvested in our business, he said.
We are doing all of those and we are going to continue to run a strong, balanced business in China and we will continue to grow, he said.
(Reporting by Soo Ai Peng; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)