GM Joint Venture Marks Two Millionth Buick Sold in China

Took eight years to sell its first one million Buicks, but only three years to sell its second one million units

General Motors said on June 22 its joint venture in Shanghai sold its two millionth Buick in China, as sales have rapidly picked up in recent years with the country's economic boom.

"It took eight years for Shanghai GM to sell its first one million Buicks, but only three years to sell its second one million units," said Kevin Wale, President of GM China. "This demonstrates the ongoing popularity of Shanghai GM's leading mainstream brand in what is now Buick's largest market."

The two millionth unit, a red New Regal sedan built by a joint venture with China's largest automaker Shanghai Automotive Industry Group, was delivered to its owner in the southern city of Guangzhou, the conpany said.

GM's first Shanghai sales office opened in 1929 and Buick customers included Pu Yi, the last emperor, revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen and late premier Zhou Enlai.

Despite its U.S. parent filing for bankruptcy, GM China has seen sales hit new highs on strong demand from the nation's increasingly affluent middle class and incentives to stimulate domestic consumption. China overtook the U.S. to become the world's largest car market for the first time in January.

And GM chief executive Fritz Henderson has said GM car sales in China are set to surpass those in the U.S. this year in a landmark shift.

GM China is still aiming to double sales to more than two million units annually and will "probably need to build another plant in the next five years", Wale said. GM sales in China jumped 75% in May from a year earlier to a record monthly high of 156,000. In the first five months, sales grew 33.8% from the same period a year ago to more than 670,000.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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