GENERAL Motors Corp has signed a four-year agreement worth more than US$800 million to export Buick sports-utility vehicles and components to China beginning next year.
The move is expected to further sharpen the competitiveness of GM, the world's biggest car maker, over other overseas rivals in the rapidly growing Chinese auto market with a bite of the rising SUV market.
About 5,000 Buick Enclaves, a luxury crossover SUV which made their debut this year, will be delivered to China every year, GM China said in an email statement yesterday.
The Buick Enclave SUV, built at GM's Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan, will be imported by GM's local partner, Shanghai-based SAIC Motor Corp, and sold through its network of nearly 400 Buick dealerships nationwide.
"The new model will help GM to meet the demand in the niche but rapidly growing market," said Lang Xuehong, director of the automotive division of Sinotrust Marketing Research & Consulting Ltd.
"China's SUV market is getting more mature with the growing vehicle population and people's rapidly expanding income."
Sales of SUVs went up by 46.4 percent for the first seven months of this year to 187,600 units, compared with a 24 percent growth in the passenger car market.
Enclave, powered by 3.6-liter V6 engine, is priced starting from US$32,790 on the American market, according to GM's Website. The imported Enclave is likely to take on BMW's X5 and VW's Touareg in China's luxury SUV market.
In May, GM signed a deal to export US$700 million worth of Cadillacs and automotive components to China.