GM sold more cars in China than in US last year

Updated: 2011-01-25 09:56


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GM sold more cars in China than in US last year

A Buick production line at Shanghai General Motors' factory. GM plans to add more hybrids, plug-ins and electric vehicles in China in the next five years. [China Daily]

LOS ANGELES - General Motors Co sold more vehicles in China than it did in the United States last year, marking the first time a foreign market has outpaced the automaker 's domestic sales in its 102-year history.

GM's sales in China increased 28.8 percent to 2,351,610 vehicles in 2010, while US sales rose just 6.3 percent to 2,215, 227, The Los Angeles Times said on its website Monday.

GM recently announced that it expected to export about 900 million in vehicles and components to China over the next two years.

Brazil was the next-largest foreign market for the automaker with sales of 657,825, a 10.4-percent increase. Overall, GM's global sales rose 12.2 percent to 8,389,769 vehicles last year, according to the report.

GM is one of the best-positioned automakers in emerging markets, even better than Toyota, said George Magliano, an economist at IHS Automotive.

"This is the wave of the future," Magliano said in remarks published by the paper. "The Chinese market is going to grow faster than the US, and it will continue to be this way."

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Despite its bankruptcy reorganization in 2009 and efforts to turn around the American market, GM remains one of the best- positioned automakers in emerging markets, Magliano said.

"GM took the big risk moving into China with Buick some years ago, but now its global footprint is actually better than even Toyota's," he said. "Ford has made some good moves, but they are still trying to catch up in emerging markets."

Nonetheless, the auto market is growing almost too fast for Chinese cities to control traffic. Car registration in Beijing has increased to 4.8 million from 2.8 million since 2005, with 700,000 new cars registered in the last year alone. The boom has created massive traffic problems in China's capital, the report said.

In 2009, China surpassed the United States as the largest automobile market in the world. Across the nation, sales of passenger cars rose 33 percent in 2010 over the previous year, the report quoted the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers as saying.


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