General Motors reports first quarterly China sales growth in two years

FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is pictured at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Ramos Arizpe, state of Coahuila, Mexico, Oct. 7, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s (GM) vehicle sales in China grew 12% over July-September versus the same period a year earlier, the Detroit automaker’s first Chinese quarterly sales growth in two years.

The second-biggest foreign automaker in China by units – after Germany’s Volkswagen AG – said on Monday it delivered 771,400 vehicles in China in the third quarter. That followed a second-quarter fall of 5%.

GM has a Shanghai-based joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd making Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac vehicles. It has another venture, SGMW, with SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, producing no-frills mini-vans and which has started manufacturing higher-end cars.

China sales of mass-market brand Buick rose 26% in the third quarter, GM said in a statement. Sales of its mass-market Chevrolet marque fell 20% whereas those of premium brand Cadillac jumped 28%.

Sales of no-frills brand Wuling grew 26%, whereas those of mass-market Baojun vehicles tumbled 19%.

GM has seen its China sales suffer in a crowded market and slowing economy. To revive its fortunes, it wants electric vehicles (EVs) to make up over 40% of new launches over the next five years in China, where the government promotes greener cars.

The automaker’s Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV, a micro two-door EV with a starting price of 28,800 yuan ($4,200), was China’s biggest-selling EV in August.

GM’s sales in 2019 fell 15% from a year earlier to 3.09 million vehicles. The automaker delivered 3.65 million vehicles in 2018 and 4.04 million units in 2017.

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