General Motors and its joint ventures sold a record 2,547,171 vehicles in China in 2011, up 8.3 percent from a year earlier. The company, which in 2011 regained its mantle as the world’s largest automaker, now sells more cars in China than in the United States.
“GM stayed ahead of the competition despite a slowdown in the growth of industry demand thanks to our broad portfolio of appealing vehicles,” Kevin Wale, president and managing director of the GM China Group said in a statement today. “GM and our joint ventures introduced 12 new models in 2011 while expanding our manufacturing and product development capability to meet rising demand.”
GM was the sales leader in China, the world’s largest car market, for the seventh consecutive year.
It’s part of a turnaround for the automaker which in 2008 accepted $4 billion in operating cash from the US government, arranged by the Bush administration, and then a $50 billion bailout from the Obama administration.
The company is not out of the woods yet and the US has yet to recoup its investment, however. The stock, which trades at about $23, needs to get to $50 a share for the government to get all its money back. GM’s pension plan is still short about $22 billion, according to its regulatory filings. The company reported a $1.7 billion profit in the third quarter.
“Among GM brands, Buick sold a record 645,537 vehicles, an increase of 17.4 percent year on year. It benefited from record demand of 253,514 units for its Excelle passenger car lineup. In addition, sales of the Excelle XT hatchback and Excelle GT sedan reached 134,800 units, and sales of the LaCrosse sedan totaled 103,366 units,” the company said.
“In 2011, Chevrolet sales in China rose 9.4 percent year on year to an all-time high of 595,068 units. The Cruze sedan remained the brand’s best-selling model, generating sales of 221,196 units. It was followed by the New Sail family, with 166,693 sales.”
“This year will be equally promising for GM in China,” said Wale. “We expect the market for both passenger and commercial vehicles to continue to expand, particularly in China’s Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities. With our leading sales position and the strong performance of our brands, GM is well positioned to capitalize on the growth opportunities.”