GM China President Kevin Wales.
General Motors set a significant milestone, last month, becoming the first automaker to ever sell more than 2 million cars in China during a single year, and giving the brand a nudge forward in its hard-fought battle to dominate the growing Asian market.
While car sales have “slowed” in China, in recent months, the numbers are still increasing at a double-digit pace and GM, in particular, recorded a 19.6% bump. Falling just short of 200,000 vehicles, the month was an all-time record for the maker in what is now the single-largest national car market in the world.
“Over the past decade, China’s vehicle market has experienced unprecedented growth. GM has grown with it, working with our joint ventures to expand our lineup of vehicles and brands, adding to our portfolio of services, and increasing our production capacity to meet the changing needs of consumers nationwide,” proclaimed Kevin Wale, president of the GM China Group.
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The latest numbers come as a reminder of the maker’s controversial decision to enter the then-nascent Chinese market, 13 years ago. Back then, few believed GM would be able to recover its initial investment in a new assembly plant to be built in the new, Pudon section of Shanghai.
As with other foreign makers hoping to tap China’s potential, GM was required to – and still must – partner with a domestic maker. The original deal paired it with Shanghai-based SAIC, and their SGM unit saw a nearly 45% increase in sales last month.