General Motors’ (NYSE:GM) struggling European unit, Opel, reportedly plans to ramp up selling in China, the world’s biggest auto market, and in other key markets like Russia and Turkey.
The group’s chief executive, Karl-Friedrich Stracke, told German financial daily Handelsblatt on Friday that the company is gearing up to sell an additional 30,000 cars a year in China, which represents a six-fold increase from its current capacity.
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Opel’s expansion is small compared with the whopping 2.55 million vehicles its parent, GM, sold in China last year. However, it is seen as a strategic move intended to offset some contraction in Opel's home market.
"Last year we sold around 5,000 cars [in China]. We want to improve that step by step to ten, twenty or thirty thousand," Karl-Friedrich Stracke said in an interview with Handelsblatt, according to Reuters.
Opel also has its sights on Australia, Turkey and Russia, according to the paper.
Russia is currently the second-largest vehicle market in Europe and is expected to continue experiencing robust growth through at least 2014, the report said.
Stracke said the “sporty, elegant design,” of Opel’s new Astra sedan brings a fresh face to the compact four-door market and will have a “substantial contribution” in increasing the European car manufacturer's market share in Russia and Turkey, where compact cars are in demand.
One of Opel’s other brands, known as Vauxhall in the U.K., sold more than 1.21 million vehicles in Europe, including Russia and Turkey, last year, according to Reuters.