Sales of foreign auto giants soar in China

Foreign auto giants enjoyed booming sales in China last year while markets remained sluggish in the United States, Europe and Japan.
The world's second largest automaker, Toyota, said on Wednesday its sales on the Chinese mainland surged 68 percent year-on-year to 308,000 vehicles in 2006.

Toyota's market performance was certainly better in China than in any other country last year though global figures were still unavailable, said Yang Hongjian, public relations manager with Toyota China.

The world's largest manufacturer, General Motors, sold 876,700 vehicles on the mainland last year, up 31.8 percent over the previous year, raising its market share by 0.6 percentage points to 11.8 percent, larger than that of any other foreign producer.

General Motors China's president and managing director Kevin Wale has said his company would invest an annual average of one billion U.S. dollars over the next three years to maintain double-digit growth in its market share.

With declining sales in North America, U.S. automaker Ford has said its sales jumped 86.6 percent in China last year to a record 166,722 vehicles.

China would account for 50 percent of global market growth in coming years and was considered by Ford to be an important base for supply, research and development, said Cheng Meiwei, Ford China president and chief executive officer. More at Detroit News

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