GM's China First-Half Sales Rise 5.3%

Uptick follows disappointing sales results in April and May.

General Motors on Tuesday said its sales in China rose 5.3% year-over-year in the first half of 2011 to a record 1.27 million vehicles.

June sales alone were up 9.9% year-over-year to 193,878 units, boosted by strong demand for passenger cars made by Shanghai GM, its joint venture with China's largest automaker, SAIC Motor.

"Domestic demand for the Buick, Chevrolet and Cadillac brands hit new June highs," GM said.

The rise in June ended two consecutive year-over-year falls in sales posted in April and May.

The number of vehicles sold by GM and its joint ventures had dipped 2.7% to 190,674 units in May, while April sales fell 4.6% year-over-year to 203,367.

China, which overtook the United States to become the world's top auto market in 2009, has become increasingly important for global players such as GM. Auto sales in China rose more than 32% last year to a record 18.06 million units.

But the sector overall has since lost steam after Beijing phased out sales incentives such as tax breaks for small-engine vehicles to ward off the impact of the global financial crisis.

Auto sales in China fell 3.98% from a year earlier in May to 1.38 million, declining for the second straight month, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, a government-affiliated industry group.

Shanghai GM's domestic sales rose 41.4% year-over-year in June while sales at GM's commercial-vehicle joint venture, SAIC GM Wuling, fell 11.2% to 88,027 units due to the expiration of incentive policies, the automaker said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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