BEIJING -- BMW will open more used-car centers in China to build the brand and expand its customer base in the world's largest auto market.
BMW is considering setting up two to four second-hand car trading centers this year in cities including Shanghai and Chengdu, said Gunther Quest, head of used-car strategy at BMW China Automotive Trading Ltd. The carmaker currently operates one such center in China, in the southern city of Shenzhen.
"We see big potential," Quest said in an interview in Shenzhen, where the Chinese unit held a road show for second-hand models. "It's a young market and we have to build trust with our customers."
General Motors Co. and BMW are among foreign automakers setting up their own used-car trading units in China, where most second-hand vehicles are sold through dealers not appointed by the carmakers.
Annual sales of used passenger vehicles in China are forecast to jump fourfold from 2011 to about 10 million by 2017, according to figures from industry researcher LMC Automotive.
"BMW's used-car business in China is developing rapidly," said Quest, who declined to give a sales forecast. The division "helps us to build the brand in China and enlarge our customer base," he said.
The brand's 68 authorized dealers and the Shenzhen center sold about 10,000 used models in China under the BMW Premium Selection program last year, according to the company. BMW doesn't provide figures for total sales of second-hand cars in the country.
BMW Premium Selection is a global program for used BMW cars that meet certain criteria, including mileage of less than 120,000 kilometers and a vehicle age of less than five years, according to its Web site.
Last week, BMW Group reported new-car sales in China, its biggest single market, rose 30.8 percent to 27,197 vehicles in April.
Source: Bloomberg and Automotive News Europe