SHANGHAI -- Geely Automobile Holdings, whose parent owns Volvo Car Corp., said it aims to become China's largest auto exporter in two years by focusing on expanding in developing countries, overtaking leader Chery Automobile Co.
Geely plans to open factories in Belarus and Uruguay this year, CEO Gui Shengyue said. The Hong Kong-traded carmaker has said it is targeting to have at least half of its sales coming from overseas by 2015.
"I am confident we will be able to become the largest Chinese exporter among the domestic brands in two years," he said in a Bloomberg Television interview in Hong Kong on Monday. "We will concentrate more efforts on boosting exports, firstly, to increase sales in developing countries, and at the same time, lay the foundation plans to expanding in developed economies."
Geely, Great Wall Motor Co. and Warren Buffett-backed BYD Co. want to increase exports as more plants open in China and domestic sales growth cools.
Chinese factories could build 40 million vehicles a year by 2015, outstripping domestic demand of about 27 million, according to the National Development and Reform Commission, the top planning agency.
China's vehicle sales this year will probably miss their 8 percent growth forecast as the slowing economy and rising fuel costs curb buying, Gu Xianghua, deputy secretary general of the state-backed China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, said on March 20.
Vehicle shipments by Geely rose to 38,000 units in 2011, making it the ninth-largest Chinese auto exporter, according to the association's data.
Chery, which has a joint-venture agreement with Tata Motors Ltd.'s Jaguar Land Rover luxury unit, was China's top exporter last year, selling 158,900 units.
Geely will probably win at least 10 percent of government orders for official cars in China, Gui said. He estimates the market to be between 300,000 to 500,000 units a year.