Good news for GM comes out of China

(September 3, 2009) Good news for General Motors comes from half a world away. General Motors Co. has reported that its China vehicles sales in August jumped 112.7 percent from a year earlier, paving the way for a more than 40 percent rise in sales for the full year.

GM, which competes with Volkswagen AG and others globally, in August sold 152,365 vehicles in China, its second biggest market, it said in a statement.

From January to August, the Detroit automaker sold 1.11 million vehicles in the country, up 49.6 percent from a year earlier, it said.

"We are now looking at a market of 11.5 to 12 million vehicles, up from 9.1 million units last year," said Kevin Wale, president and managing director for GM's China operations, referring to China's overall vehicle market.

"We expect GM sales for the year as a whole to rise by more than 40 percent from 2008."

China's auto market, which overtook the United States as the world's largest in January, has been a leading bright spot in the struggling global auto industry as government incentives spurred a pick-up in demand.

GM has been among the major beneficiaries of the initiatives, with its China vehicle sales hitting monthly records since January.

Shanghai GM, the U.S. automaker's flagship car venture with SAIC Motor Corp., sold 63,303 models in August, up 99.6 percent, it said.

Monthly sales of the Chevrolet brand came to 23,771 units, up 99.4 percent, with Buick sales up 102.8 percent to 38,905 units.

SAIC-GM-Wuling, a three-way commercial vehicle tie-up between GM, SAIC and Liuzhou Wuling Automobile, came to 88,711 units in August, up 122.6 percent.

GM had said it planned to roll out 30 new or revamped models in China up to 2014 from 2009, including 10 Buick and Chevrolet models this year and next year.