July 30, 2014 at 11:07 pm

Chevrolet's global marketing officer says brand focusing on China

The head of global marketing for General Motors Co.’s Chevrolet’s brand said Wednesday the brand is looking to continue growing around the globe and has its eyes set on China where it will celebrate 10 years of sales next year.

Tim Mahoney, chief marketing officer for Global Chevrolet who addressed the Adcraft Club of Detroit, said the brand sold nearly 5 million vehicles last year. A decade ago, about two-thirds of Chevrolet sales were in the United States. At the end of 2013, two-thirds of Chevy brand sales were outside the United States. Chevys are sold in 140 countries.

Fast-forward a few more years and China will be the biggest sales market for the industry. It’s already GM’s largest sales market. Mahoney said by 2022 or 2023, 35 million vehicles could be sold annually in China.

Last year, the bow-tie brand sold nearly 1.95 million vehicles in the U.S., up 5.2 percent from 2012. Its second-largest market was China, where GM sold 652,077 vehicles, up 4 percent from 2012.

Through the first half of 2014, Chevy sales in China rose 4.2 percent to 335,486.

Mahoney said GM will work to market Chevrolet in China through its Manchester United soccer sponsorship (logos are on team jerseys for seven years) and it is exploring partnerships — possibly a ride — with Shanghai Disney Resort, which is slated to open in late 2015.

“We are still in the phase of building awareness over there,” he said. “Man U is a big part of that strategy to connect the bow-tie with something you can actually drive.”

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