BEIJING -- General Motors Co. is counting on growth in developing markets to fuel its post-bankruptcy revival, and it's not just talking about China.
GM forecasts that sales in China will pull even with its U.S. volume this year and will exceed home market sales in 2011. But it also is banking on sales gains in several other emerging markets.
Markets outside the United States and Europe accounted for 44 percent of GM's volume last year. Tim Lee, GM's new international operations boss, said the figure should be even higher this year.
"We'll have a ratio greater than 44 percent in 2010," Lee said in an interview at the Beijing auto show. "It's very important and growing. We are a strong contributor to the profitability of General Motors."
Lee, 59, appointed to the Shanghai-based post in December, oversees operations in 130 countries throughout Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. His jurisdiction includes China, India and Russia -- and all markets are poised for big gains this year, he said.
In booming China, GM's sales will rival U.S. volume this year.
"In 2010, it's probably a jump ball," Lee said of GM's sales in China vs. the United States. "Add up the numbers in the first quarter, and I think we probably did outsell the U.S."
GM and its joint ventures expect to achieve their target of 2 million sales this year in China. That is four years ahead of the company's five-year plan, announced a year ago. Last year GM sold a record 1.83 million vehicles in China, now the world's top auto market.
To power its growth in China, GM plans to introduce 25 new and upgraded models in 2010 and 2011. Among those is the Chevrolet Volt, GM's upcoming extended-range hybrid.