GM sets record even as govt incentives lapse

08:36, February 14, 2011      

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US no longer top market for century-old automotive icon

Despite the expiration of government incentive programs to fuel auto sales, General Motors set an all-time sales record of more than 268,000 vehicles delivered last month in China, an increase of 22 percent over a year earlier.

Its previous monthly record in the nation was set in March last year when the company sold about 230,000 vehicles.

At the end of last month GM's market share in China rose to 14.7 percent, it said in a statement.

Its flagship joint venture with SAIC Motor Corp sold nearly 132,000 Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac cars in January, up 46 percent from the previous year.

Sales by its minivan partnership SAIC-GM-Wuling increased 11 percent to about 133,000 units in the first month of 2011.

GM's light-duty commercial vehicle joint venture with FAW Group sold over 3,000 vehicles in January.

In 2010, GM and its joint ventures moved more than 2.35 million vehicles in China, the first time in the company's century-long history that the United States was not its largest market worldwide.

Last year China retained its crown as the world's biggest auto market in units sold for a second year, following landmark 2009 sales generated by government incentives and strong domestic demand.

As 2011 began, government sales tax rebates, subsidies for rural buyers and incentives to trade in cars expired, all of which will likely to cool the market, analysts said.

Yet Chinese consumers still have a solid demand for automobiles due to increasing individual wealth, especially in the vast inland areas, they said.

According to a recent Reuters report, GM said it its production capacity remains under pressure due to continuing strong demand this year.

The report cited Terry Johnsson, vice-president of GM China, saying that the company is planning to add new plants in China in 2011 and after to meet steady demand in the huge market.

Ford Motor Co, another major US automaker that builds cars in China, also reported all-time record sales in January, when it sold 53,340 vehicles, an increase of 20 percent over the same month last year.

China Daily
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