Tue, May 08, 2012 - Page 10 News List

GM says monthly car sales in China hit record high

AFP, SHANGHAI

A Shanghai General Motors (GM) vehicle is parked on a street in Shanghai, China, -yesterday.

Photo: AFP

US auto giant General Motors Co said yesterday that it saw record sales in China last month, despite a broader slowdown in the world’s biggest car market.

GM sold 227,217 vehicles last month, up 11.7 percent from the same month last year, the Detroit-based company said in a statement. GM also registered a sales record in March.

For the first four months of the year, GM’s sales in China rose 9.4 percent year-on-year to 972,369 units.

GM is depending on China to help sustain its lead over Volks-wagen AG and Toyota Motor Corp in global vehicle sales.

The US carmaker plans to open 600 new dealerships this year and its Chinese car-making venture last month signed an agreement to build a fourth plant, part of a push to cater to demand in inland provinces in the world’s largest car market.

GM China Group president Kevin Wale said sales would top 1 million this month, the earliest it has reached that landmark figure in China.

“It has put us on track to once again set a new sales mark for the year as a whole,” Wale said in the statement.

GM sold more than 2.5 million vehicles in China last year.

Foreign car makers such as GM have been able to ride out an overall slowdown in China’s car market, the world’s largest since 2009, helped by name recognition and perceptions of higher quality.

Nationwide car sales in China rose just 2.5 percent to 18.51 million units last year, compared with an annual increase of more than 32 percent in 2010.

The slowdown came after the government rolled back -purchasing incentives and some cities imposed tighter restrictions on car numbers to ease chronic traffic congestion and pollution.

Vehicle sales in China fell 3.4 percent year-on-year to 4.79 million units in the first three months of this year, according to an industry group.

However, many of the world’s carmakers remain confident of steady growth in China, where three out of every four new car purchases are by first-time buyers.

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