GM China sales rose 6.1 percent in 2008 to 1.09 million total units, including sales of passenger cars and commercials vehicles, a massive slowdown after last year's 18.5 percent growth. The slowdown comes after years of double-digit growth in China for GM.
GM is lead by Dongfeng in passenger car sales. Through its joint ventures with Honda, Nissan and PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Dongfeng sold a total of only 1.06 million vehicles, but 727,392 of those were passenger cars. GM China sold just 445,709 passenger cars, down 7.03 percent from last year, and 647,296 commercial vehicles, up 17.9 percent.
"A series of natural disasters and an increase in fuel prices earlier in the year exacerbated the impact of the global economic downturn in China," Kevin Wale, president and managing director of GM China Group said in a statement. Wale still expected China to remain the world's fastest growing market, and predicted GM China will slightly outperform the market in China next year.
Automotive sales in Asia have not mirrored the bloodbath of the U.S. market, but signs are pointing to a significant slowdown. GM China will introduce at least five new Chevrolet and Buick models in the next two to three years, and will upgrade several Cadillac, Opel and Saab models in an effort to bring more consumers to showrooms.