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China now GM’s biggest market

Top seller: Buick's Excelle has helped to drive GM sales in China to a new record.

GM sells record 2.35 million vehicles in China in 2010, eclipsing its US sales

5 Jan 2011

GENERAL Motors sold more cars in China last year than in the United States for the first time, while also becoming the first foreign company to achieve more than two million annual vehicle sales in the rapidly expanding Chinese market.

GM’s Chinese sales rose 28.8 per cent to a record 2.35 million units in 2010, eclipsing the 2.21 million vehicles sold by GM’s four brands in the US where GM sales rose seven per cent over 2009.

GM was again number one in both markets – the world’s two biggest. Although the full accounting is yet to be done, Chinese auto sales last year are expected to hit 18 million compared with America’s 11.5 million, making China the world’s largest car market for the second year running.

GM’s Chinese sales were well ahead of rival Toyota, whose 846,000 vehicle sales there represented a 19 per cent increase over 2009.

However, both GM and Toyota’s growth were slower than the overall rate for the Chinese market which was estimated to have grown 32 per cent.

GM’s rate of growth has also slowed compared with its breakneck 69 per cent increase in 2009.

 center imageLeft: GM China managing director Kevin Wale.

GM has been the market leader in China for six years, partnering local car-makers SAIC (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation), Wuling and FAW.

In 2010, the Shanghai-GM passenger car operation became the first such Chinese company to sell more than one million vehicles in a year, ending 2010 with 1.03 million sales – up 42 per cent.

SAIC-GM-Wuling sold 1.22 million units to capture 40 per cent of China’s mini commercial vehicle segment.

GM’s light-duty commercial vehicle joint venture, GM-FAW, sold 88,224 trucks in its first full year.

Chinese Chevrolet sales jumped 63.4 per cent to 543,709 vehicles – mainly on the back of Cruze growth – almost matching the more established Buick brand’s 550,010 sales (up 23 per cent).

Buick’s big gun was the top-selling Excelle mid-sized sedan which notched up 302,142 sales for the 12 months.

GM China Group managing director Kevin Wale – a former Holden executive – said GM had kept pace with customer needs by introducing 11 new and upgraded models that were segment leaders in design, technology and fuel economy.

“At the same time, we continued to expand our local presence to position GM for long-term growth in China,” he said.

“Over the next 12 months, GM will continue to grow our presence in China through the introduction of cutting-edge products like the Chevrolet Volt and the start of sale of the Baojun passenger car brand.

“We will also continue to grow our manufacturing capability while addressing the sustainable development of China’s automotive industry. This is all part of our ongoing commitment to working in China, with China, for China.” ends

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