GM Sets Sales Record in China

Company plans to double sales in China over next 5 years and launch 30 new or upgraded models

General Motors Corp's China business hit a new record last month with vehicle sales up 50% from a year earlier, the company said on May 5.

General Motors and its Chinese joint ventures sold 151,084 vehicles in April, driven by demand for Buicks and small-engined, $3,000 "bread vans" produced in cooperation with local auto maker Wuling.

"Our new product offensive, which is still in its early stages, has helped get customers into our showrooms and increase demand across the board," said Kevin Wale, GM China's president and managing director.

GM has said it aims to double its sales in the country to more than two million vehicles over the next five years and launch more than 30 new or upgraded models during the period.

Shanghai GM saw demand for its Buick lineup rise 63.6% to 38,071 cars sold and SAIC-GM-Wuling's Wuling Sunshine minivan remained China's best-selling vehicle, with 50,491 sold last month.

In 2008, GM sold more than 1.09 million vehicles in China, 6.1% higher than 2007.

While General Motors is expected to soon follow its American rival Chrysler into bankruptcy protection in the U.S., the company's China subsidiary remains self-sufficient and is unlikely to be affected.

China's car sales hit a monthly record of 1.08 million units in March, outstripping the United States as the world's largest market for a third month running on the back of government incentives to boost domestic consumption. These measures included slashing purchase taxes on small vehicles and subsidising buying alternative energy vehicles.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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