GM China sales growth slips

Updated: 2014-05-07 09:35

By Li Fangfang (China Daily)

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GM China sales growth slips

A visitor looks at a Cadillac SRX SUV of General Motors (GM) on display at a shopping mall in Shanghai, May 5, 2014. [Photo/]

General Motors pouring money into new models to regain No 1 spot

General Motors Co, seeking to wrest back China market leadership from German rival Volkswagen AG, saw sales growth in the country slow in April to their lowest level in 14 months.

GM and jointventure sales in China rose by an annual 6.3 percent last month to a record 278,263 units, figures from the US auto conglomerate showed on Tuesday. The Buick, Chevrolet, Cadillac and Wuling marques reached new all-time highs.

Still, the increase was down from 12.6 percent in the first quarter and 11.4 percent in 2013.

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GM's sales increase in April is likely lower than the industry average, which was forecast to be 10 percent by the China Passenger Car Association. Actual figures are expected to be released on Friday.

Volkswagen, Europe's largest vehicle maker, has not released its April sales data. Board member and CEO for China, Jochem Heizmann has told China Daily the company "will always go faster than the industry average."

Volkswagen, the first to enter the Chinese market almost 30 years ago, regained top spot in the country from GM last year. GM had been No 1 for eight years.

Combined China sales at Volkswagen and its two joint ventures surged 16.2 percent in 2013 to 3.27 million units, outpacing GM's 3.16 million. It was the first time that the German maker delivered more than 3 million vehicles in a single country.

In the first quarter, GM was the top seller in China, with 881,000 units. The company announced aggressive investment and growth plans at the Beijing Auto Show in April to help fuel momentum.

"China has been GM's largest market since 2010 - last year accounting for about onethird of our global sales," President Dan Ammann said. He noted China is expected to remain the company's largest market well into the future.

GM China sales growth slipsAmmann said capital expenditure in China by GM and its joint ventures will be about $12 billion between 2014 and 2017. That will accelerate funding and capacity expansion for new product programs.

"We are counting on China for another record year in 2014, and I'm confident we can make it with strong new models," Ammann said.

Some of the $12 billion investment will fund the launch of more than 60 new and upgraded vehicles coming to market through 2018, with the focus on meeting growing demand for luxury vehicles, SUVs, multipurpose vehicles and smaller passenger cars.

The investment also includes opening five new manufacturing facilities by yjr end of 2015; four vehicle assembly plants and one powertrain plant. With additional facility expansion between 2014 and 2020, GM China's manufacturing capacity will be on track to increase by 65 percent.