Despite continued growth in new car sales in China, some believe the market is close to peaking. If you’re trying to establish a presence as an automaker, the next best thing to selling new cars is selling certified used cars.

That strategy for the Chinese market is being embraced by both General Motors and BMW, as both automakers see used cars as a way of quickly expanding their customer base in country.

As Automotive News Europe (subscription required) reports, BMW is looking at establishing as many as four used car centers throughout China by the end of 2012. The Bavarian automaker already operates one such outlet in the southern city of Shenzhen.

Used BMW models sold in China are certified under BMW’s Premium Selection program, which requires cars to have less than 120,000 kilometers (74,565 miles) on the odometer and meet other criteria for documented maintenance.

Of the brand’s used car expansion, BMW China Automotive Trading Ltd. head of used-car strategy Gunther Quest said, “We see big potential. It’s a young market and we have to build trust within our customers.”

Building trust will further help to build sales, which some see growing from 2.5 million units in 2011 to 10 million units by 2017. Of that 2.5 million, BMW’s 68 authorized dealers and its used car center in Shenzhen combined to sell some 10,000 used vehicles last year.

In other words, there’s plenty of used car opportunity for BMW in China, even if new car sales begin to slow.