With sales of its joint ventures included, GM has set a sales record in China for the first half of 2009, selling 814,442 vehicles, an increase of 38 percent over the first six months of 2008.
"China's vehicle market continued to outpace most expectations for growth," said GM's China Group President Kevin Wale. "The market benefited from stimulus policies adopted by the Chinese government as well as growing demand for our personal transportation."
For the first time ever, GM and its joint ventures managed to sell more than 100,000 vehicles in each of the first six months of the year. The automaker's SAIC-GM-Wuling firm has become the first joint venture in China to sell more than 100,000 vehicles in a month, and sales for the joint venture alone totaled 524,598 units, an increase of 50 percent compared to last year.
The venture's Wuling Sunshine minivan was China's most popular vehicle, amassing sales of 295,789 units. The Wuling Rong Guang minivan, launched last year, almost topped 100 units. The Chevrolet Spark saw sales rise 60 percent to 32,065 units.
Demand for Buick, sold under the Shanghai GM joint venture, also rose significantly. In the first half, GM sold 195,989 Buicks, an increase of 34 percent. Compare that to Buick sales in the U.S., which witnessed a 33.6 percent drop, with only 47,223 units moving off dealers' lots.
Despite bankruptcy news and sales declines in the U.S., the Chinese market continues to provide good news for the troubled automaker.
"Vehicle sales in China are expected to remain strong in the second half of 2009," said Wale. "With the all-new Buick LaCrosse premium sedan, Cadillac Escalade Hybrid, Buick New Regal 2.0 sedan, and a number of other new products on the way, we expect GM China and our joint ventures to remain an engine for industry growth."