General Motors Company and its joint ventures in China announced today that domestic sales of 1,826,424 units sold in 2009 resulted in a year-end market share record of 13.4%. It was an improvement of 1.3 percentage points from the end of 2008.
The results provided confirmation of sorts for taxpayer bailout defenders, including the U.S. Auto Treasury Task Force, which asserted that the insolvent company was worth saving last year because of its global footprint and ongoing success in Asia that currently eludes it elsewhere.
As the result of a combination of a large population, ongoing Communist government investment in crucial transportation infrastructure projects, and extremely effective government stimulus programs during the Great Recession, the Chinese auto market is now the world’s largest. Chinese government policy also requires that automakers form partnerships with Chinese companies so that jobs and profits stay in China.
The U.S. is the only major industrial country in the world that does not have a policy to protect manufacturing jobs in any industry, let alone the auto industry where each car company job has a multiplier effect of 10:1 in the latest study from the respected Center for Auto Research.
GM is locked in a battle with Volkswagen Group and Toyota global for leadership, although VW – profitable and growing through acquisitions – seems to be in a better place right now than loss-making Toyota, as well as money losing GM, which as recently as two years ago was the global auto market leader. As of the end of the third quarter of 2009, VW was solidly in third place, with 4.8 million sales. Toyota reported 5.6 million, GM 5.5 million. Final sales results will not be in until much later this month.
Sales of Buick and Chevrolet vehicles were strong during a year, as were sales of joint venture models from SAIC-GM-Wuling. This positive result came during a year that that most other automakers would rather forget or downplay, including GM when its slumping U.S. sales results are announced tomorrow.
“We are proud of our performance in 2009,” said Kevin Wale, President and Managing Director of the GM China Group.
In 2009, GM and its Chinese JVs introduced several new and upgraded models, including the new Buick LaCrosse and the New Regal turbo series, which will debut in the U.S. next summer; the Chevrolet Cruze delayed in the U.S. until next fall; and the new Cadillac SLS and SRX.
GM and its joint ventures continued increased investment in China throughout the year as it contracted elsewhere.