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GM China Sales on the Rise During First Quarter

Automaker could hit record of 3.6 million units.

by on Apr.07, 2014

The Chevy Sail is Chevrolet's second-best selling vehicle in China behind the Cruze.

General Motors, which could use a bit of good news these days, is off to a fast start in the Chinese market where GM’s total sales could top 1 million units by the middle of April as the auto giant and its partners fight to regain the leadership in China from rival Volkswagen AG.

GM and its joint ventures had record sales in China during March and the first quarter of 2014 sales in March increased 7.8%, raising GM’s domestic sales in China during the first quarter to 919,114 units – an increase of 12.6% from the same period a year ago.

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The automaker posted record sales of 3.2 million units in 2013 and the strong first quarter sales leave it on track to hit 3.6 million units. (more…)

Toyota, Honda Gain Ground in China

Chinese car sales regain momentum in February.

by on Mar.11, 2014

Japanese car sales in China plunged -- and a Toyota dealership was even burned -- during protests over a diplomatic dispute.

After an unexpected slowdown, sales of new vehicles in China appear to be regaining momentum, growing by 18% in February, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reports, as the Chinese market shrugged off concerns about an overheated market and the overall pace of the country’s economic expansion.

The upturn was particularly good for Japanese makers like Toyota and Honda which are finally recovering from the effects of a diplomatic dispute between China and Japan spurred by the debate over ownership of a chain of uninhabited islands.

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Both Toyota and Honda reported strong sales during February, as did General Motors and Ford Motor Co., which had record sales in what has become the world’s largest market for new vehicles. Volkswagen AG, which topped the Chinese market last year, hasn’t reported detailed sales figures yet but CAAM pegged total sales of new vehicles across China at 1.6 million units.

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World’s Largest Auto Market to Restrict Car Purchases

China placing limits on buyers to address pollution, traffic problems.

by on Jul.11, 2013

Traffic congestion has become a major challenge in China, as has air pollution.

Struggling to cope with worsening smog problems even as the roadways in places like Shanghai and Beijing become choked with traffic, Chinese regulators plan to enact new restrictions limiting the number of vehicles that can be sold in a many key cities around the country.

Such limits are already in place in four major cities, and another eight will be added to the list, according to reports published today by China’s well-connected state media.  It’s not clear if the expanded list will make exceptions for those buying lower-polluting battery-cars, as has been the case in the past.

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China is now the world’s largest automotive market but the rapid growth – which neared triple digits during parts of the past decade and was running at over 9% on an annualized basis during the first half of 2013 – has had its cost.

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Despite Weakening Economy, Chinese Car Sales Still Solid

Chinese airline to start in-flight car sales.

by on Mar.12, 2013

VW and GM remain locked in a battle for dominance in the booming Chinese market.

Surging global stock markets slipped back this week as China released surprisingly weak economic data – but one sector of the vast Asian nation’s economy remains strong, Chinese car sales surging 40% for the first two months of 2013 after an unexpectedly weak performance last year.

For some carmakers, Chinese demand appears to be surging as they bring on new products, while for others, it is taking new discounts to help bolster sales.

But industry analysts continue to worry about what may happen as government regulators come under increasing pressure from both the public and a new cadre of Communist Party leaders to tighten environmental regulations in the wake of record pollution levels in the capital Beijing and other parts of the country. As TheDetroitBureau.com recently reported, stricter automotive emission rules – possibly including a press for more battery cars – are being actively considered.

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The 40% year-to-date increase in overall Chinese car sales comes despite a drop in February as the Chinese celebrated the Lunar New Year, a week-long holiday during which little or no business is transacted across China.

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China’s Car Boom Could Go Bust

Reining in sales in the name of clean air.

by on Mar.01, 2013

Ford CEO Alan Mulally during a recent trip to China. Ford's sales are booming but could slip if regulators curtail the Chinese market.

After a few stutters last year, China’s massive automotive market seemed to get back on track in January, sales surging 46% compared to year-earlier levels. Yet there’s growing concern that the good times won’t continue for long.

There are a number of reasons to be worried, including a still frail global economy, nagging regional issues that include an ongoing territorial dispute with Japan and declining foreign investment. Yet the biggest concern, it seems, may be China’s endemic and worsening problems with air pollution.

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That has already led Chinese regulators to call for a rapid switch to battery-powered vehicles. But with market demand lagging Beijing’s call, a growing number of observers fear the central government may soon put in place steps to curb automotive ownership.

A growing number of major cities, including capital Beijing and economic center Shanghai, have already put restrictions in place, such as monthly limits on new vehicle registrations – though such measures have generally been aimed at curbing traffic problems, rather than emissions issues.

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GM China Sales Set Record

What industry slowdown?

by on Feb.06, 2013

The Baojun 630 has been targeting the next wave of new Chinese car buyers.

With the Chinese economy showing new signs of life after an unexpected slowdown, General Motors and its joint venture partners have set an all-time record, selling more than 300,000 vehicles in a single month for the first time during January.

If the pace is sustained over the next 11 months, GM estimates sales in China could top 3.5 million units.

During GM’s best-ever January in China, sales totaled 310,765 units, an increase of 26% from the same month in 2012 and 15.9% above the previous all-time monthly high of 268,035 units in January 2011.

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Domestic sales by Shanghai GM and SAIC-GM-Wuling, and their Buick, Chevrolet and Wuling brands all set new single-month records as well in January, GM reported.

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GM Sets Another New Sales Record in China – And it’s Not Alone.

Maker still has a month to go before closing books on 2012.

by on Dec.06, 2012

A Cadillac XLR at its Beijing debut earlier this year.

The once-explosive pace of growth in the Chinese car market has slowed down sharply this year – which means that General Motors had to wait until November to set a new sales record.

With a month left to run up the final total, GM and its various affiliates have sold 2,593,642 cars, trucks and crossovers in China, compared with 2,547,171 for all of last year.  The good news for GM – and its competitors – was that November saw a renewed surge in a market that has, over the past decade, seen sales nearly double in some years.

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GM isn’t alone, however, Ford was one of a number of other makers that also reported hitting all-time sales records by the end of November and still more are expected to get there by the time December’s numbers are tallied.  On the other hand, key Japanese makers could miss their once-lofty sales goals as a result of ongoing political turmoil.

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Chinese Auto Market Continues Losing Steam

U.S. likely to outpace China for 2012.

by on Sep.11, 2012

The Geely Gleagle at the recent Beijing Motor Show.

It’s been the engine that helped prop up many an automaker through the industry’s recent hard times, continuing to help European manufacturers overcome their problems at home. But there are growing signs that China’s once booming auto industry is fast losing momentum – like much of the rest of that nation’s economy.

China remains the world’s largest automotive market but data released today by the China Association of Auto Manufacturers suggests it won’t even keep pace with the U.S. market this year.  After an unexpected dip during the first quarter and a tepid recovery during the late spring and early summer, August automotive sales rose a meager 3.7%.

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That’s well below what most analysts had been forecasting – and the equivalent of a major downturn considering that for much of the past decade China’s car market grew at well into a double-digit pace, some years topping 70%.

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Chinese Market Dominated by Mega-Dealers

China’s showrooms dwarf those in the West.

by on Aug.15, 2012

The new AMG Performance Center in Beijing.

The typical Chinese car dealership sells approximately 980 vehicles annually, substantially more than dealers in Europe and North America as China’s government actively promotes the creation of large dealer groups, according to a new report released Tuesday.

“The sales network in China is at a crossroads,” said Hamilton Gayden, managing director, Urban Science China, during a conference call from his office in Shanghai.

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“Until this point, automotive manufacturers have been largely concerned with getting enough operators established to manage their sales. Today, with the sales pace calming, manufacturers are rethinking their retail footprints and being much more strategic, shifting from a network built simply on relationships to – for the first time – a true network plan driven by data,” Gayden said.

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Chinese Car Sales Rebound – But Prices Plunge

Dealers faced with a glut of vehicles slash prices.

by on Jun.13, 2012

A Mercedes-Benz E300 on display at the recent Beijing Motor Show.

It’s the Chinese take on the old good-news/bad-news phenomenon: Chinese car sales rebounded sharply in May after a worrying slowdown earlier in the year.  But to help build momentum, dealers have been slashing prices which could translate into lost profits for market leaders like General Motors and Volkswagen.

The sharpest price cuts in several years raise fears that the Chinese car market is weakening – along with the rest of the economy – and could go into a slump if manufacturers decide to hold the line rather than accelerate the current pace of discounting.

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Chinese car sales surged 16% in May compared to year-earlier volume, a welcomed turnaround from the first quarter of 2012 when the market showed an unexpected and unfamiliar decline.  But even so, sales for the first five months of the year were up only a modest 1.7%.  Based on patterns throughout most of the past decade that might have been expected to be more like a 20, 30, even 40% gain.

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