Score one for the bowtie: Chevrolet secured a 6.3-percent global market share in the first quarter of this year, and sales reached 1.18 million vehicles, up 6.5 percent from last year. That’s good enough, says General Motors, to set a record for the Chevy brand.
As far as the top international market goes, the U.S. is still firmly number one in terms of buying Chevy models. GM sold 448,000 Chevys in the United States last quarter, about 38 percent of total volume. It does serve as a reminder, however, that the classically American marque now sells the vast majority of its cars elsewhere across the globe.
Those places include China, where customers purchased 162,000 Chevy vehicles; Brazil, where sales slipped last quarter to 137,000 units; Mexico, where 42,000 cars were sold; and Argentina, where Chevrolet set a sales record after selling 41,500 vehicles. All told, Chevrolet sold 55,104 vehicles in western and central Europe, up 7.8 percent from last year.
The success comes, in most areas, thanks to GM's slate of so-called world cars. Like we've seen with Ford's One Ford international product strategy, GM has seen success with models that are sold in dozens of countries. Cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, Spark, Sonic/Aveo, and Malibu have led that charge. The Cruze seems to have the edge: General Motors says it sold more than 180,000 units of the Chevy last quarter, which accounts for 15 percent of total Chevy sales and enough to make it the top-selling Chevrolet-branded vehicle sold worldwide.
Chevrolet’s global push appears to continue, as two mutli-national models – notably the Colorado pickup and TrailBlazer SUV – are due to launch later this year. We imagine both models will bolster Chevrolet’s fortune in certain markets – notably South America and Thailand – where midsized pickups and sport-utilities continue to resonate with consumers.