General Motors says 1H China sales up 5.3 pct

AP News
Posted: Jul 05, 2011 4:28 AM

General Motors Co.'s ventures in China sold a record 1.27 million vehicles in the first half of the year, the company says, though growth slowed sharply from the double-digit pace of recent years.

Sales by GM and its local ventures rose 5.3 percent in January-June from the same period last year, as its mini-vehicle venture SAIC-GM-Wuling's sales dropped 5.4 percent to 641,324 units, the company reported Tuesday.

GM's sales in June rose 9.9 percent over the year before, to 193,878 vehicles, it said.

Minivan sales had been a major driver of growth in 2009-2010, thanks to government incentives that expired early this year. The lack of incentives, rising fuel costs and traffic restrictions in Beijing all have sapped vitality of the world's biggest auto market in recent months.

Domestic automakers have likewise suffered from lapsing of subsidies for energy-efficient small cars, while big foreign name brands have been gaining market share.

GM's flagship joint venture, Shanghai GM, saw sales jump 25 percent from the year before to a record 600,002 units, GM said. Strong demand for the Cruze and Sail small cars pushed Chevrolet sales up 14.5 percent to 297,841 vehicles, while Buick sales jumped 28 percent to 324,919 vehicles.

As increasingly affluent Chinese trade up, sales of sport-utility and luxury models are soaring.

Cadillac's sales surged 88 percent to 14,078 units in the first half, the company said.