Asia will account for more than half of the international automotive industry's sales growth in the next decade, GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said at a Beijing forum, as private vehicle purchases are on the increase.

Asia will account for more than half of the international automotive industry's sales growth in the next decade, GM chairman and chief executive Rick Wagoner said at a Beijing forum, as private vehicle purchases are on the increase.

Wagoner participated in a panel discussion called "The Auto Industry in Asia: An Open Road?" where he acknowledged that manufacturers intent on become global leaders would not be able to do so without a significant presence in the continent.

"Fortunately, the road is wide open, particularly in the region's emerging markets, such as China, India, Thailand and Korea, and particularly for those companies with a solid investment strategy and a full corporate commitment," Wagoner said.

"China's vehicle market is entering a period of steady, sustained growth, which we expect to level off at about 10 per cent annually over the next few years. Led by a passenger-car market that continues to shift from institutional buys to private purchases with rising personal incomes, we anticipate growth across the board.

"The dominant players will be those that leverage global resources and capabilities on the one hand, and on the other meet the specific needs of the local market."

"In the automotive industry, that means multiple brands and multiple products. The Asian consumer is as sophisticated as the consumer in any other region of the world thanks in large measure to the free flow of information via the Internet and television. Today their standard of expectation is measured against the best in the world, not just against the best in the country."

Wagoner said that the Asian automotive industry needed either strong local talent or a strong local partner, or both, to overcome its initial problems. He cited GM's Chinese partnership as an example saying that he hoped the local industry would be able to become self sufficient and more globally competitive.

also revealed plans by Hyundai to make India the export hub for its popular Getz small car. Confirming the move, Hyundai India said production of the Getz would start in 2007 when its capacity would be expanded. By making India the Getz's global hub, Hyundai is going ahead with its plans to shift all of its small car developments to India in the long run.

Original article from Car