GM's China micro-van joint venture Wuling names GM exec as EVP

By Norihiko Shirouzu

BEIJING Oct 12 (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Friday said that its minicar joint-venture producer in China appointed Ray Bierzynski as its executive vice president, to fill the position vacated by a manager who left the joint venture to work for Tata Motors.

Bierzynski, with GM since 1978, assumes his new job at SAIC GM Wuling Automobile Co amid shifting market and business conditions.

Once-zooming sales of no-frills micro-vans, which Wuling manufactures, are showing signs of a slowdown, and to keep demand for those workhorse vans expanding, the company is seeking business outside China.

Bierzynski, 52, replaced Karl Slym who GM said in August decided to leave Wuling after less than a year on the job to join Tata as managing director.

One thing Bierzynski brings to SAIC GM Wuling is his Asia-Pacific experience, the executive said in a telephone interview on Thursday. "For example, I am familiar with the Indian market from my previous role... I don't have as steep a learning curve relative to the types of products needed in India and the (Asia-Pacific) market in general."

Bierzynski had been executive director of GM's electric-vehicle strategy for China since June 2011. From 2004 through 2009, Bierzynski was in Shanghai, first as president of GM's Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center and later as vice president in charge of engineering for GM Asia Pacific.

During the first nine months of 2012, GM's overall sales in China increased 10 percent from a year earlier to 2.08 million vehicles, of which 1.07 million vehicles came from sales by Wuling.

(Reporting By Norihiko Shirouzu; editing by Carol Bishopric)